phil regan mets
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The vibes in Port St. Lucie for Mets spring training have been immaculate so far. Expectations are high, players are reporting to camp in great shape, and there is nothing but smiles on everyone’s faces during on-field drills. Even team owner Steve Cohen said the vibe is the best it’s been since he took control of the team in November 2020.

Naturally, this is the perfect time for yet another Wilpon-era folly to temporarily put a damper on things. TMZ Sports is reporting that former Mets pitching coach Phil Regan is suing the organization after not being retained as pitching coach following the 2019 season.

Regan filled in for Dave Eiland as pitching coach after he was fired in the middle of June. The Mets ultimately didn’t retain Regan, instead hiring Jeremy Hefner for the role ahead of 2020. One of the main reasons why Regan wasn’t invited back? He was “too old”, which is what then-GM Brodie Van Wagenen reportedly told him straight-up.

The former pitching coach and his lawyers have filed a lawsuit for age discrimination as a result. Here’s what Matthew Blit, Regan’s attorney, had to say about the situation:

Regan’s conversation also included the following bit from BVW:

If we don’t find the young pitching coach we are looking for, we will hire you back.

Yikes. Double yikes. At the time of this incident, Regan was 82 years old. His baseball career lasted six decades. He pitched for four different clubs during his 13-year MLB career, which spanned from 1960-72. After that, he spent time in both the college and professional ranks in various positions.

His time with the Mets spanned from 2009 to 2019, when he ultimately retired after this conversation with Van Wagenen. Regan’s stops within the organization included being the St. Lucie Mets pitching coach (2009-15), as well as being the team’s MiLB assistant pitching coordinator (2016-19) before getting promoted to the big leagues in June.

Regan noted in his suit that the Mets’ pitching staff immediately saw improvements with him in charge. He took over for Eiland after he was fired on June 20th, and the staff had compiled a cumulative 4.74 ERA in 670.1 innings. Once the change happened, the Mets’ hurlers produced a 3.84 ERA in 790.2 innings to finish the year.

New York’s big three starters — Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Zack Wheeler — all saw big improvements under Regan’s watch, too.

When looking at these two time periods, deGrom’s ERA went from 3.26 to 1.75. Meanwhile, Syndergaard’s went from 4.55 to 4.03 and Wheeler’s went from 4.94 to 3.04. This was also the second straight year deGrom took home National League Cy Young honors. So, he’s not wrong. And for someone who dedicated his life to the game, he deserved to go out on a much happier note.

Any way you slice it, this was poorly done by the Mets, and there was nothing Cohen could do about it at the time. Just another reason to be annoyed with the Wilpons — as if we needed one. Maybe this topic came up in discussion when Fred was in PSL last week? Probably not.

Matt Musico can be reached at and you can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.

Matt Musico is an editor for ESNY. He’s been writing about baseball and the Mets for the past decade. His work has been featured on numberFire, MetsMerized Online, Bleacher Report, and Yahoo! Sports.