The Mets aren’t waiting until the end of the season to make front office moves. The club let go of director of development Kevin Howard on Thursday, according to a source. The club also parted ways with director of pro scouting Jeff Lebow, performance coordinator Jim Cavallini and development assistant Bryan Hayes, according to reports. More changes are expected as the club gears up to hire a president of baseball operations during the offseason.
Howard was hired as the executive director of player development in 2021 to replace Jared Banner, who was let go when the sale of the franchise went through and new owner Steve Cohen cleaned house. He also worked as an assistant hitting coach in 2021 after hitting coaches Chili Davis and Tom Slater were fired a little over a month into the season. He returned to his position as the farm director when the season concluded and remained there until Thursday.
Howard, who grew up in the Los Angeles area but is now based in Arizona, visited the big league team when they played in Phoenix in July. He was a well-liked figure among the younger players in the clubhouse who worked closely with him.
The Mets have been investing resources in player development and have placed an even heavier emphasis on the farm system, infusing it with highly-regarded talent at the trade deadline and opening a new pitching lab in Florida. Howard’s role was to implement systems and philosophies at the minor league levels and coordinate with minor league managers and instructors.
Bryn Alderson, the son of former Mets GM and team president Sandy Alderson, previously served as the director of pro scouting, but he left the organization this spring. It’s unclear what led to Alderson’s departure and when asked about it during spring training, general manager Billy Eppler declined to comment and said Lebow would continue to oversee pro player evaluation.
Cavallini was hired by Alderson in 2018 after working with the U.S. Army. A rash of injuries in 2017 led to the firing of head trainer Ray Ramirez and the Mets sought an outside perspective as a way to overhaul some practices and prevent injuries, especially on the pitching side.
Some of the new practices were strange and tedious. During the spring of 2018, the Mets limited throws in between practice reps as a way for pitchers to reduce the stress on their arms. The injuries still piled up that season.
Eppler is still expected to be a part a key decision-maker for the Mets moving forward. With a new head of baseball operations coming in this winter, it’s only natural that new hires were going to be made. Terminating personnel with a month left in the season is a curious decision but it paves the way for a new president of operations to make those moves and determine his own front office structure.
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