While much of the focus in the New York Mets’ dugout has been on the future of manager Terry Collins, another member of the coaching staff was preparing to retire. Pitching coach Dan Warthen, who has been on the staff since Rick Peterson was fired in the middle of the 2008 season, has widely been credited for helping to develop the Mets’ talented young pitching staff. Warthen had planned on retiring after this season, Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News reports, since he believed he just needed to set up the starters to maintain their success after he departed. This year has gone so far off the rails, however, that Warthen has now changed his mind and wants to come back for one more year to help his staff get back on track.
Things have gone horribly wrong for the rotation this season, which has seen everyone but Jacob deGrom land on the disabled list for extended stays with injuries. The Mets’ starters have pitched to a 5.09 ERA through Sunday’s game, which is the fifth worst ERA in the major leagues for a rotation. That 5.09 mark also has the staff in line for a dubious distinction, threatening the 1962 Mets for the worst rotation ERA in franchise history. That iteration of the Mets lost 120 games, and this poor performance has inspired Warthen to stick around to try and right the ship.
The pitchers have defended Warthen, who is widely regarded as one of the best pitching coaches in the sport, with deGrom telling Ackert that he sees no reason to make a change. Warthen’s track record speaks for itself, and many of the starters have developed into quality pitchers thanks to his tutelage. If the Mets are serious about turning things around next season, keeping Warthen gives them the best chance to salvage the pitching staff. Even if Collins leaves the Mets would likely hire a manager who has worked with Warthen before, like Bob Geren or Chip Hale. There is no real reason to mess with the pitching coach when this year has been an abnormality compared to the past several seasons.