ST. LOUIS — The Mets’ offensive woes over the first month-plus of the season led to a pair of coaching casualties Monday night.
After the Mets’ 6-5 loss to the Cardinals at Busch Stadium, the team announced that hitting coach Chili Davis and assistant hitting coach Tom Slater had been fired.
Hugh Quattlebaum was named the new hitting coach, with Kevin Howard as his assistant.
Davis, 60, was well-respected within the clubhouse, but acting general manager Zack Scott cited the process and preparation as the reason for the changes.
Quattlebaum, 42, joined the organization this offseason as the minor league director of hitting development. He had spent the previous three seasons with the Mariners. Howard, 39, joined the Mets this season as the organization’s director of player development.
“This was a really difficult decision to make, but the reason we felt like it was the right decision was based on a vision for what we want our major league hitting program to be,” Scott said. “There are certain things, the process under the hood is what’s important. It’s not about results.”
Scott, who arrived as assistant GM in December — he was elevated following Jared Porter’s firing the following month for sexual harassment of a reporter during his tenure with the Cubs — said he’s spent the last few months assessing the process to prepare the players.
Davis and Scott had previously worked together with the Red Sox.
“Our job is to support the players and put them in a position to succeed as a baseball operations group and we just felt the players needed a different level of support and maybe some different skills brought into the mix,” Scott said.
Davis, a former hitting coach with the Athletics, Red Sox and Cubs, was hired before the 2019 season. He worked remotely from home in Arizona last season because of health concerns during the pandemic.
Slater served as the assistant hitting coach for the last four seasons.
“In any major decision like this we have to weigh the risks and the benefits of making a change,” Scott said. “I’m confident that the people we are bringing in here to these roles will also be building strong relationships. They may have a little bit of a ways to go compared to the time that has been spent with Chili and Slate, but I am confident those relationships will be there.”
A telling sign in recent days might have been Mets players crediting a fictitious coach, Donnie Stevenson, for the team’s improved offense during a weekend series in Philadelphia.
Francisco Lindor’s struggles at the plate — he is hitless in his last 22 at-bats and his slash line dropped to .163/.284/.209 on Monday — certainly didn’t help Davis and Slater’s cause. The Mets are 29th in MLB with 3.23 runs per game.
Scott said he consulted team president Sandy Alderson before the changes occurred. Manager Luis Rojas was also consulted.
“Chili is a confident man and knows his stuff and what he is doing,” Scott said. “Just like anyone else he has certain areas he is really strong at and certain areas that aren’t necessarily his wheelhouse in terms of his experience. In some ways I knew what I perceived to be his strengths and weaknesses.”