Ex-Cubs hitting coach Chili Davis discovers ‘a better fit here’ with Mets hitters who have bought in

The former All-Star hitter with a strong coaching track record suggested he might have been “too outspoken” for some of the Cubs’ young hitters last year.

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Davis in his lone Cubs spring training in 2018.

NEW YORK — Chili Davis doesn’t like to dwell on what went wrong in his brief tenure as Cubs hitting coach and the abrupt firing just one year into a multiyear deal.

But whether it was about his communication style, the preferences of “millennials” on the roster or the wrong fit at the wrong time, he knows hitting, and he trusts a track record that includes 19 years as a successful big-league hitter and seven more as a hitting coach, including six with playoff teams.

“It didn’t work. Just leave it at that,” said Davis, who instead of stepping away from the game for a year — which he considered — took a job with the Mets that he calls “just a better fit here.”

That feeling is mutual with first-year Mets management team, which got the old-school hitting coach it wanted to get away from launch angles and back to an all-fields, shift-busting, situational-hitting, approach-based method that has helped a flawed Mets roster return to playoff contention in a hot second half this season.

The Cubs, meanwhile, still talk about “moving the baseball,” that “the run is in the offense” and trying to get the growth from some of the young core they’ve sought since breaking through into the playoffs in 2015.

“There’s no doubt we’re still wrestling with a lot of those same issues and trying to come up with solutions,” team president Theo Epstein acknowledged as the Cubs opened a three-game series against the Mets.

Davis, who was credited with helping Javy Baez grow into an MVP candidate and with helping Jason Heyward become more productive, nonetheless took the fall for an offense that Epstein said “broke” in the second half and for the failure of some key young hitters buying into his message.

“I think one of the problems with me there last year was I was too outspoken,” he said. “I say whatever comes to mind. Sometimes it might come off to people as challenging.”

It’s the only season in eight as a big-league coach for four organizations that Davis had that “problem.”

And he took that lesson into the interview process when teams called in the offseason.

He liked the “enthusiasm they had in bringing me over,” which he said was much like the Cubs’ a year earlier and what their plans and positives were for the hitting core.

“My response was I needed to know what the not-so-positives about your players are,” he said, “because when s--- goes bad, what am I going to expect here?”

Davis won’t point fingers, especially when it comes to those with the Cubs he still expresses “love” and respect for, including Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer.

“I don’t even think about what needs to happen over there,” Davis said. “When I left there — I’m a Met. And my only concern right now is what needs to happen here for us to get to the next level. I could care less what happens over there right now. I don’t care if they get to the next level or not. That’s not my team. I don’t wear that uniform anymore.

“But for every organization I think it starts with having players behind players behind players behind players,” he added of building a strong enough farm system to have options when players get hurt or don’t meet projections.

“If you don’t have a lot of guys behind the guys in the big leagues, then you’re stuck with what you have in the big leagues, and you’re going to play that care until your hand’s done,” Davis said. “And you can bluff your way through it for a couple years, but eventually you’re going to have to start moving guys.”

Read that any way you choose.

But it’s no secret that what he describes is the Achilles heel of an organization that has failed to produce a homegrown pitcher of significance or even a reliable hitting pipeline in eight years under the current regime.

“I’ll tell you one thing: Theo and Jed had a huge part in building that Boston Red Sox organization,” crediting them with many of the players in the current championship core and with an executive tree that succeeded after they left Boston “So I’m sure they know exactly what they’re doing there, and it’s just a matter of time.

“And sometimes you may have to give up a couple years to get back to where you are. But they know what they’re doing over there.”

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