Time to extend Phil Regan

Every now and then we hear chatter that Noah Syndergaard should be extended, or Zack Wheeler, or Michael Conforto. Some or all of these could make sense, depending on the price. There is one reasonable extension the Mets could offer, and probably should offer. That is, remove the “interim” from the title of pitching coach Phil Regan, bump his salary and extend him for next season.

When the previous pitching coach, Dave Eiland, was fired earlier this year, it seemed like Eiland was being scapegoated for the pitching drop off of the team. Most people probably assumed the 82 year old Regan was just a placeholder until some up and coming pitching coach could be hired after the season. However, Regan is getting results, dramatic results at that, in improving the team’s pitching.

Regan had a distinguished MLB career as a pitcher, mainly in the sixties. He was pitching coach for several big league teams, as well as a manager for Baltimore. For the past 13 seasons he had been a roving minor league pitching instructor in the Mets farm system, and had worked with most of the current Mets pitchers in that capacity.

Under Regan’s watch the Mets SPs have found their mojo. Regan took over in late June, but to allow for a little time to get his feet wet we’ll compare some of the Mets’ pitchers records from before the All-Star break to after the break when Regan was in charge.

Wheeler, for example, pre-break had an ERA of 4.69 and a WHIP of 1.28. Since the break, his ERA is 2.19 and WHIP is 0.73. It’s a similar story for Syndergaard, with a 4.68 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP pre- break, with 1.78 and 0.99 post- break. Both Wheeler and Syndergaard have something else in common. According to a New York Post story by Kevin Kernan, Regan found a similar flaw in the pitching motion of both. Both pitchers were closing off their front foot, negatively affecting their balance. The adjustment was made, and both have been lights out since then.

Some of the relievers have improved as well. Seth Lugo had a good record pre-break, with a 3.35 ERA and 1.19 WHIP. Since the break, in 10.2 IP, Lugo has been untouchable with a 0.00 ERA and microscopic 0.09 WHIP. Robert Gsellman struggled before the break, with a 5.09 ERA and 1.43 WHIP. He too has righted the ship with post -break figures of 2.63 and 1.10.
Not all the pitchers have turned it around, Jeuris Familia and Edwin Diaz still have plenty of room left for improvement.

The team has shown it can move swiftly when change is needed, as in the case of Eiland. It might be worthwhile to show performance can be rewarded swiftly as well, with a well deserved extension for Regan. Team morale is high after the recent winning streaks, and morale would probably soar even higher if Regan was named pitching coach, not just “interim” pitching coach.

11 comments for “Time to extend Phil Regan

  1. August 6, 2019 at 11:52 am

    I like Phil Regan.

    But there’s no reason to hire him full-time unless and until he gets Edwin Diaz out of his funk. That has to be job #1.

    • Mike W
      August 6, 2019 at 10:39 pm

      Let’s not forget about Familia too. Diaz just may be one of those players who cant handle New York.

  2. Chris F
    August 6, 2019 at 12:45 pm

    This article is a total head scratcher to me.

    Every five minutes Mets fans have new ideas based on a couple weeks of info. Im 100% certain no one is banging down the doors to make Regan pitching coach. The idea he somehow turned the whole staff around makes no sense. By the same token, the Mets are playing great baseball, period. I might suggest we offer an extension to Mickey and Chili too. Who is on board?

    • BVac
      August 7, 2019 at 10:09 am

      I could see us bringing Chili back, man was a great hitter back in his day and he seems to have figured out J.D. Davis as the SNY broadcast was talking about last night. For what it’s worth, the Mets’ offense is now 16th in Runs and OPS, as opposed to 23rd and 24th last year.

  3. holmer
    August 6, 2019 at 1:10 pm

    Coaches and managers usually get too much credit or too much blame, depending on players performance. Players respond better to one coach over another and it is a matter of how well they receive that message. Finding mechanical flaws is something all coaches are looking for but relaying that message to the player is often a matter of how a message is received. In the Mets case it was, in addition to the flaw Regan found with Syndergaard and Wheeler, a matter of talent rising to the top. To Brian’s point, I couldn’t disagree more. Diaz has two clear mechanical flaws, one is flying his front side open too much which forces him to release before his arm is in position to do so effectively, and the other is when he overcompensates and holds the ball too long. He is clearly working on both but, frankly, the problem is between his ears at this point. Back to my earlier point, talent will rise to the top and Diaz will find it but, unfortunately, it may not be this year and the lunatic New York fan base doesn’t help him find it.

  4. Chris B
    August 6, 2019 at 8:07 pm

    I like Regan and was thinking about his impact the other day as well. While I agree with holmer that a coach or manager’s impact is often overvalued, there is definitely something to be said about the pitchers performance since Regan has come on.

    • John Fox
      August 6, 2019 at 8:54 pm

      I agree totally Chris, performance of the pitchers pre-Regan and post-Regan is like night and day. I think a case could be made that a good pitching coach could be more valuable than a good manager.

      • Rae
        August 7, 2019 at 1:51 am

        I agree that Regan has been a strong help to the Mets pitching staff. and that they should extend him. His age might be called into question but there is no doubt that he has helped the Mets pitchers with Diaz being the exception. I think Familia has shown improvement but Diaz has not shown any improvement whatsoever. I think he cannot handle NYC, and that he should have been moved before the trade deadline. Seattle is much more laid back and sedate than NYC so until the Mets trade Diaz (and they will never receive back the ransom they paid for him) he is never going to pitch well out in Queens. He might have struggled even more if he was acquired by the Yankees because of the glut of media exposure and attention that team deals with up in the Bronx. Nevertheless, Diaz has been a complete failure for the Mets.

    • MattyMets
      August 7, 2019 at 8:19 am

      Hope he can get through to Familia and Diaz.

  5. TexasGusCC
    August 7, 2019 at 12:28 am

    Great piece John and while some may scoff or mock at the man’s accomplishments, his work speaks for itself. However, he’s 82 years old. Do you think he even wants this job full time? He was asked to come off his job of coaching the minor leaguers to help the MLB staff. But, the travel of a full season and schedule can wear out an 82 year old. Being 82 isn’t easy; take my word for it! I recall my dad two years ago when he was 82 and that nap was important, plus regular rest. Now, he needs more rest and more naps. I don’t know if I’d sign that paper if I were Regan.

    Also, the Mets minor leagues are known for pumping out pitching prospects and Regan must be a big reason. But, all good teachers want to teach always, and there will be more teaching in the minors than the majors once Regan cleans up the MLB mess.

    • John Fox
      August 7, 2019 at 8:22 am

      Gus, whether he wants the job for next year as well did occur to me, but of course the only way to find out would be to offer extension. I would note that he had been roving minor league instructor for the Mets, and that would likely involve a fair amount of travel as well, and he seemed ok with that.

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