ST. LOUIS — Pete Alonso learned about the firings on social media and says, before long, he was in tears.
A day after hitting coach Chili Davis and assistant Tom Slater were dismissed, Alonso was still in shock that team officials deemed a change necessary.
Hugh Quattlebaum and Kevin Howard were in uniform for Tuesday’s game against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium, as the new hitting coach and assistant hitting coach, respectively.
Alonso said he cried at his locker the previous night after learning that “Uncle Chili” and “Uncle Slate” had been dismissed from their positions, as acting general manager Zack Scott looked to improve the coaching staff’s process and preparation with the hitters.
Alonso heard that same message in a team meeting with Scott before Tuesday’s game, but says he still isn’t sure why changes were needed.
“I talked to Zack last night, I slept on it, we had a meeting today and it still isn’t clear to me,” Alonso said. “I am hoping that in three or four months from now, we do have the answer or the answer makes it clear. That the answer is there and it’s easy to see.”
Davis told The Post he would “probably” still be employed if Francisco Lindor were producing at his normal level. But the shortstop, who signed a $341 million contract extension before the season, has struggled.
Lindor, who entered play in an 0-for-21 skid with a .494 OPS, acknowledged that his slow start could have played a part in the coaching changes.
“Maybe if I would have been hitting a little more, maybe [Davis] would have had a job,” Lindor said. “I don’t know. It breaks my heart that he is not here with us. I am working as hard as I can and I know Chili and Slate worked as hard as they could to get me going and to get the players to hit. The short time I spent with them, worked with them, I have nothing but respect for both of them.”
Though the Mets were 29th in MLB in scoring at 3.23 runs per game, Alonso said he and teammates were caught off guard by the firings.
“The performance of our offense over the last two years, 2019 and 2020, you had guys do some real special things in baseball,” Alonso said. “Guys were All-Stars, guys have broken records … it’s confusing to me and I respect everybody who made that decision, but it doesn’t make sense right now.”
Luis Rojas was consulted before the firings, and called it a “tough” night. The manager declined to say how much input he had in the matter.
“It was an organizational decision, that is the best way I can share right now,” he said.
Does Rojas wonder if he might be next on the chopping block?
“Those are the type of things I do not think about, because in my field it’s just very disrespectful to the group,” Rojas said. “That’s not my focus right now. With all due respect to the guys in the room who work real hard on a daily basis, players and coaches, and all our staff that travels with us and also at Citi Field, that’s where my focus is: the game of the day.”
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