With Mike Puma’s report in today’s New York Post relaying that the New York Mets will not retain pitching coach Dan Warthen next season, immense speculation over who Warthen’s replacement might be has commenced. Puma adds that Frank Viola, former major league all-star and current Las Vegas 51s pitching coach, will not be considered for the role.
Instead, the most probable replacements are major league bullpen coach Ricky Bones and minor league pitching coordinator Ron Romanick, Puma writes. Bones is wrapping up his sixth season on the Mets’ coaching staff, while Romanick, who has held his position equally as long, was the major league pitching coach for the Oakland Athletics under Bob Geren in 2011.
Puma also mentions that Viola is not a sure bet to return to the organization after this season. It has been previously reported that Viola expresses a desire to coach at the major league level. After seven seasons coaching in the organization’s system without a major league opportunity, it would behoove him to explore options elsewhere. Viola had interviewed with the Baltimore Orioles last offseason for their major league pitching coach vacancy, but fellow late-1980s Met Roger McDowell was chosen for the job.
Viola was originally hired by the organization to serve as the pitching coach for Brooklyn (SS-A) in 2011, before being promoted to Savannah (A) in 2012, and Las Vegas (AAA) in 2014. Nearly every homegrown pitcher on the major league roster has worked under the tutelage of Viola at some point in their careers.
Other names mentioned by Puma as possible candidates include former Met and current Boston Red Sox assistant pitching coach Brian Bannister, and the currently unemployed Curt Young, who Romanick had replaced (and was eventually replaced with) in Oakland.