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How Eric Chavez Plans On Simplifying The Mets' Offensive Approach

Find out how Eric Chavez plans on simplifying the Mets' offensive approach.
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First time hitting coach Eric Chavez will be tasked with fixing the Mets' biggest deficiency from a season ago.

During the 2021 campaign, the Mets had one of the worst offenses in baseball and saw a number of proven hitters struggle at the plate.

And although Chavez has never been a hitting coach at any level in the past, he endured a successful 17-year career in the majors which will give him instant credibility amongst the players. 

So when it comes to instilling an approach within the team, Chavez, who has been in the same shoes as the players during his own career, intends on making things as simple as possible in order to maximize their potential. 

“I'll make it as simple as possible. I want to break this down into consistency and quality at-bats,” Chavez told Steve Gelbs of SNY. “I think over the last five to seven years with Instagram and with a philosophy of getting the ball in the air and launch angle and exit velocity -- all of which are great things -- I think, and we can kind of see this collectively across the league, that there's a lack of consistency. 

"Yeah, there's guys that are hitting home runs, on base [percentages] look good, but the strikeouts and the .190 batting averages kind of seem to be acceptable and the norm, and I just don't think that's how you build winning teams. So, my goal is to simplify things.”

As the game has continued to evolve, technology has played an even larger role in helping enhance the skillsets of major league hitters. But while Chavez acknowledged the importance of utilizing this technology, he also believes that connecting with the players in the clubhouse is the most important aspect of coaching. 

“We all have hitting philosophies and it's always kind of one of the worst questions that I had to answer as far as the hitting realm, because these philosophies are constantly changing and when you're dealing with individuals and people that are dealing with highs and lows, you have to be able to adjust and adapt to some of the thinking. It comes down to connecting with players,” said Chavez. “It’s always about the players and we're just going to provide, we're going to use technology, we're going to use every asset that we possibly have to help these guys perform at the level we know they're capable of doing. 

"But first and foremost, we know they’re people. I think in any business that you're dealing with if you can connect with a person, I think you're going to see great strides and a great benefit from doing that.”

Chavez, 44, won six straight Gold Glove Awards and captured a Silver Slugger trophy during his playing career. Once the lockout is over, Chavez's track record as a big-leaguer should help him easily relate to the players in the clubhouse as a result of his reputation. 

Chavez was initially hired to be the Yankees' assistant hitting coach earlier in the offseason, but there was a certain understanding in place with general manager Brian Cashman upon accepting this position. 

If a head hitting coach role, or bench coach opportunity became available, Chavez wanted to put himself in the mix. Ex-Yankees assistant GM and current Mets GM Billy Eppler has long standing ties with Chavez, so when they called him about their top hitting coach opening, it was a no brainer. 

“When I started that conversation with the Yankees, it was pretty much made clear that I was talking to a few different clubs, and then when we agreed with the deal with Cash I made sure, I said ‘Hey, there's two other spots that I would consider or I would like an opportunity to interview for if they come up and it would either be a bench job or a head hitting coach job.’ And so I was pretty upfront from the beginning,” said Chavez. “We kind of knew with the Mets situation that my history with Billy (Eppler), it was going to be possible that I was going to present an opportunity and then obviously with the coaching vacancies that the Mets had, that obviously lifted the odds of that happening pretty high. 

“So, it was something that was made very clear from the beginning and you know, to Cash’s credit, he granted me permission to do that if that was the situation. When it officially happened, he called me and he reiterated again ‘Is this something that you want to do?’ and I said ‘Yeah, I'd like to kind of explore these options and see where it leads us.'”

In the end, Chavez bolted from the Bronx to reunite with Eppler, and join manager Buck Showalter's coaching staff. Chavez is unable to reach out to the players until the lockout ends, but once MLB and MLBPA agree on a new CBA, the first-year hitting coach will have to "hit the ground running" in a hurry. 

“I’ve met Steve Cohen. You know, he's just bringing so much excitement to the city and the organization and he's gone out and put his wallet where his passions are and he's brought in a ton of new players, and that's the kind of really bad thing for this coaching staff that we've put together … not being able to talk to the players right now is extremely frustrating,” Chavez said, “and I know a lot of the other teams are dealing with the same type of situations. It is one of those things right now, and hopefully that deal will get done sooner than later.

“But knowing Buck and the Zoom calls that we've had with the staff, as soon as those players do come up with the agreement, we're going to be prepared. We're going to be ready to hit the ground running.”