Is new pitching coach Dave Eiland truly the answer for a successful Mets rotation?
While winning two World Series titles with the Yankees and Royals, Dave Eiland has helped cement powerful rotations and bullpens
It was only yesterday when the Mets had a staff that was considered the next big thing in baseball. Injuries, attitude issues and literally anything else you could think of interrupted what could have been something special. When the Mets cleaned house and longtime pitching coach Dan Warthen left his position, it seemed like the rotation and bullpen would be the biggest question mark. Enter Dave Eiland.
The 51-year old from Dade City, Florida has a chance to finally fulfill the dreams of Mets fans everywhere. Heck, maybe even the dreams of the entire organization. In order for the team to succeed, the rotation must be a single unit. The Mets cannot just rely on one starter to have a solid start, holding the team by a thread. In 2017, the Mets had the second-worst ERA (5.01) in the National League. Is Eisland the one to change all of that?
Stay with me for a moment: If there is one thing you can say about Dave Eisland, it is that he is consistent. His resume speaks for itself. From 2008-2010 he became the pitching coach of the Yankees. He was one of the key components that let the team to a World Series Championship in 2009 with a three-man rotation of CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte.
It was in Kansas City however where he seemed to thrive. Joining the team after the 2011 season, the Royals exceeded expectations. The team struck out a franchise-best 535 batters in his first year with them, setting an American League record. In 2013, the pitching staff of the Royals led the American League with an ERA of 3.45, the lowest since 1978. The bullpen was ranked top five in ERA for the past five+ years with Eiland at the helm. As a pitcher himself, he understands all that needs to be done to succeed.
Why is this all important you may ask?
Patience is the key for the Mets’ rotation, and Eiland has got a lot of it. He handled a young Royals team, and guided them through many rough and successful times. He is the ideal figure for Matt Harvey to settle down with. With the new training staff, Eiland can find ways to move past the injuries that have haunted the team for years. With competition brewing for a rotation spot, maybe he can pick Zach Wheeler and Steven Matz’s brain to make them the pitchers they were hyped up to be.
The new system seems to have paid off so far in Spring Training. Harvey looks consistent with his pitches, as does Noah Syndergaard, who’s flexibility regimen has allowed his curveball to be deadly. Adding a veteran and former teammate in Jason Vargas can do more good than harm for the Mets. A man who knows the system can even further illustrate to the Mets core how things can work. Transferring the knowledge to a bullpen that the Mets are desperate to see succeed can also help. Eiland has even helped Jeurys Familia. By tweaking even the smallest aspect of a players delivery, he is providing the team with a service to preserve their energy and create more opportunities.
Several Mets, Syndergaard especially, had a special relationship with Warthen. Eiland has proved so far he fits well with the team. How his aura affects the team outside of Spring Training will be the ultimate test.
Out with the old, in with the new. The Dave Eiland era is upon us. With former pitching coach Mickey Callaway by his side as the skipper, the Mets have a one-two combo that can cause some serious damage. That is especially true with the potential this Mets staff has. Like everyone else, they hope it all ends with a perfect strike.