After three seasons and two playoff appearances with the Mets, hitting coach Kevin Long is moving on to their National League East rival: Long has accepted the hitting coach position with the Washington Nationals where he’ll work under new manager Dave Martinez. Long’s move to D.C. reunites him with star pupil Daniel Murphy, who blossomed into a star under his tutelage down the stretch in 2015. He’ll also join his son Jaron Long, who has pitched for Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse in the Nationals organization the past two seasons.
Despite interviewing for and ultimately being passed over for the Mets’ manager job in favor of Indians’ pitching coach Mickey Callaway, the Mets had hoped to retain Long in 2018 and even considered offering him a promotion to the role of Callaway’s bench coach. That wasn’t enough, as Long decided to part ways with the club after his contract expired on October 31. In addition to interviewing for the Mets job, Long also interviewed for the Nationals’ job that ultimately went to Martinez.
In Washington, Long will inherit one of the most talented rosters of hitters in all of baseball. The Nationals placed 6th in MLB in offensive WAR and were led by star hitters Bryce Harper (156 wRC+), Anthony Rendon (142 wRC+), Ryan Zimmerman (138 wRC+), and Murphy (136 wRC+). Combining those talented hitters with Long’s hitting knowledge could be an incredible marriage for the Nats and a nightmare for the Mets.
After being fired by the Yankees, where he served as hitting coach from 2007-14, Long moved from the Bronx to Queens prior to the 2015 season. In his place, the Mets seem poised to announce that Long’s assistant Pat Roessler will step into the top hitting coach job. Roessler, a longtime friend of Long’s who came with him to the Mets from the Yankees prior to 2015, has himself received praise from Murphy for both his work and his friendship.