McDonald: Mets’ GM Sandy Alderson Needs To Replace Pitching Coach Dan Warthen With Frank Viola

Something needs to be done. Teams that endure two six game losing streaks generally do not make the playoffs.

But the Mets at five games under .500 need to right this ship very fast or Memorial Day won’t just be the unofficial start of summer, but the unofficial end of the season.

With a team ERA of 5.15 – good for last in the league – the Mets need to make changes now. The status quo isn’t going to work here. With little options out there, except on the periphery, like the waiver claim of last night’s starter Tommy Milone and signing of cast-off Neil Ramirez, there’s just so much Sandy Alderson can do.

Because of the go-for-it attitude of the last two seasons, the minor league is bare of any reinforcements. Bringing up say a P.J. Condon from Double-A would be a disservice for both the Mets and their pitcher and frankly if there were any options at Las Vegas, they would be here right now.

Except one.

Vegas pitching coach Frank Viola is highly regarded in the industry. He has been able to bring young pitchers along by teaching him the nuances of the game. Remember, Viola is a former Cy Young award winner, who won 20 games twice in his career, including in 1990, which was another Met team that went through a shakeup in May.

Viola is in his fourth season as Vegas pitching coach and wants a shot at getting back to the big leagues. He interviewed for the Orioles job this past off-season and lost out to former Met Roger McDowell. He even said to the NY Post back in February, “After being in Vegas for four years, I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t love to have an opportunity to make a difference in the big leagues. If it happens, it happens. If not …”

Eventually, he will get a job as a big-league pitching coach, so why not now? Viola knows most of the pitchers, because he nurtured them in the minors, so he can get on the job running.

If Viola comes then Dan Warthen must go as pitching coach. Sure, it’s not his fault the whole staff fell apart in the last week, but he oversees the pitchers and ultimately, he is responsible for talented players who are under performing.

Replacing Warthen with Viola may do little in the long term, because the same players must go and perform every day. But it may shake them up a bit and maybe a new voice can change things around.

Warthen became Mets pitching coach in 2008 when he replaced on Rick Peterson on Jun. 17. He survived the Omar Minaya purge, becoming the only coach Sandy Alderson kept on when he hired Terry Collins after the 2010 season.

Met fans, who want blood, probably want to see Collins go out the door, as well. But the manager would probably be replaced with bench coach Dick Scott, which doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence. Because there’s an obvious replacement for Warthen, this move needs to be made.

Warthen is also 64, which means he probably won’t last the long term anyway, especially if Collins retires or gets fired at the end of the season.

Maybe it will work. Maybe it won’t. Coaching changes sometimes can spur the team on, like in 1999, when Steve Phillips replaced half of Bobby Valentine’s staff, including jettisoning Bob Apodaca and replacing him with Dave Wallace. The Mets went onto the playoffs that season.

Something needs to be done now. The injuries are spilt milk and there’s no need to cry over it, because the rest of the staff is truly underperforming.

It’s time to make a change. Pitching coach Dan Warthen needs to go.

Bring in Frank Viola, it will be sweet music to Met fans ears.

About the Author

Joe McDonald

Joe McDonald is the founder and former publisher of NY Sports Day. After selling to i15Media in 2020, he serves as the Editor-in-Chief and responsible for the editorial side of the publication. In the past, Joe was the managing editor of NY Sportscene magazine and assistant editor of Mets Inside Pitch. He has covered the Mets since 2004.

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