The Mets' coaching staff is going to look a lot different next season due to a massive overhaul, but one familiar face will remain.
On Tuesday, the Mets announced that pitching coach Jeremy Hefner will return in 2022.
“I’m extremely excited to continue working with this group and build on the systems and practices we’ve implemented,” Hefner said via statement. “I saw a lot of development … and am very optimistic for even more success.”
Although the Mets have yet to hire a president of baseball operations, general manager or manager, they only had until the end of the month to make a decision on Hefner's club option.
They ultimately did not want Hefner to hit the free agent market, as they believed he would be snatched up by a number of teams looking to fill this vacancy.
The 35-year-old spent two seasons as a scout for the Minnesota Twins, before they promoted him to assistant pitching coach in 2019.
The Mets then opted to hire Hefner as their pitching coach prior to the 2020 season, and next year will be his third campaign in this role. Hefner also spent both seasons of his playing career on the Mets' pitching staff from 2012-2013.
“Jeremy has done an outstanding job of working with the entire pitching staff and they’ve all benefitted from his leadership and expertise,” said team president Sandy Alderson in a statement.
The Mets' pitching staff finished the regular season with a 3.90 ERA, which ranked No. 9 in MLB. They held the 4th best ERA in baseball as a unit in the first-half, but lost ace pitcher Jacob deGrom for the remainder of the year.
And it's safe to say the move to retain Hefner is popular among some of the Mets' players. Relief pitcher Drew Smith immediately took to Twitter to express his pleasure regarding the news that Hefner will stay put.
Under Hefner, Smith broke out in 2021 with a 2.40 ERA, a 1.065 WHIP and 41 strikeouts across 41.1 innings. Left-handed reliever Aaron Loup also had a historic season with a 0.95 ERA in 56.2 innings.
Keeping Hefner signals the Mets' satisfaction in the job he has done over the past two seasons. The hope is that they will continue to see their pitching staff develop and trend upwards under Hefner's eye.