Ex-A’s Report #2: Rickey Is New Mets Hitting Coach
by Ken Arneson
2007-07-11 21:07

First, some Zito news, and now this: Newsday is reporting that Rickey Henderson will be the new hitting coach for the New York Mets, replacing Rick Down.

Well, this should be fun.  I’ve always thought that Rickey could be a pretty good first base coach, since he has an expert eye for pitchers’ moves, but I never really thought about him as a batting coach.  He had pretty much the ideal batting approach as a player; it should be interesting to see if he can explain and transfer that approach to others.

Comments: 8
1.   Elliot
2007-07-11 21:43

1.  I'm a Mets fan and I LOVES this move. Rickey has been a spring training instructor for the last two years, basically working just with Jose Reyes, and a lot of people have credited Rickey with Reyes' huge turnaround.

I just can't see this move hurting. The worst-case scenario is he has major personality clashes with the veterans and gets forced out quickly, and that's not really that bad. The consensus is Rickey is great with young players, and the ones who are really struggling (Delgado, Lo Duca somewhat, Beltran) are the veterans who probably don't do a ton of work with hitting coaches and are expected to work out their problems on their own. If Rickey is responsible for even part of Reyes' development, I would love for him to work closely with Lastings Milledge, Carlos Gomez etc.

2.   jmoney
2007-07-11 22:20

2.  Since the A's 2007 season is pretty much sunk, this makes the Mets the team I'm rooting for to win it all.

3.   Voxter
2007-07-11 23:20

3.  People used to talk about The Rickey being like an extra hitting coach in his waning playing days, so while I didn't expect this, it doesn't exactly surprise me, either. I wouldn't be shocked if this move is motivated in no insignificant amount by Jose Reyes, whose PECOTA and BB-Ref comparables include some very promising names (the most tittilating including Robbie Alomar and Paul Molitor on the PECOTA side, and Joe Morgan from BB-Ref), but whose improved plate discipline spike has been accompanied by a worrying power outage. Reyes could remain exactly the player he is right now for the rest of his career and have his number retired by the Mets; if The Rickey can tap his power without sacrificing his newfound discipline -- and Rick lacked power himself as a very young major leaguer -- the Mets could have a Hall of Fame candidate on their hands.

4.   Jim Dean
2007-07-12 10:31

4.  3 Really? As a second hitting coach? Why?

5.   mbtn01
2007-07-12 11:20

5.  Not as a second hitting coach. Rick Down was whacked. Not his fault entirely but the Mets have been a poor offensive team since last August.

Rickey's official role hasn't been defined yet either -- the Mets could also move Howard Johnson to hitting coach and put Rickey in Hojo's role as first base coach. Interesting that Hojo is closely associated with Wright's development and Rickey with Reyes', now both are on staff.

Rickey was also said to be instrumental in getting out the best 4 months of Roger Cedeno's career when they were Met temmates in 1999.

6.   Jim Dean
2007-07-12 12:13

6.  3 "People used to talk about The Rickey being like an extra hitting coach in his waning playing days"

Really? As an extra hitting coach? Why?

7.   Elliot
2007-07-12 17:37

7.  (Don't know how to link to comments but this is in reference to 5)

Speaking for what I know of, in 1999 the media made a lot of Rickey taking Roger Cedeno under his wing in New York, and Cedeno posted a .313/.396/.408, all career bests. I can't speak for his other stops but, considering how much credit Henderson gets for Cedeno and Jose Reeyes, I wouldn't be shocked if he had similar effects on other ex-teammates.

8.   Voxter
2007-07-15 22:47

8.  6 - Keep in mind that I wasn't one of those people. I suspect that the reason was that he was old and the idea seemed cool.

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