After placing second to last in the weak National League East, the Mets decided it was time for a change. Their record this year was lackluster at best. The Mets went 37-44 at home and ended with only 70 wins and 90 losses. In a fan base like New York, this isn’t going to fly. Prior manager Terry Collins resigned, but elected to stay with the club in the front office. The Mets had a void to fill and did it in New York style, signing Mickey Callaway.
Mickey Callaway might not be a household name yet. His success in New York might lead him there.
Callaway took his job as pitching coach with the Cleveland Indians and turned it into a managing opportunity with the Mets. The Indians pitching staff showed tons of improvement under Callaway. Ultimately, the Indians had one of the best pitching rotations in baseball. Callaway also had a hand in making important decisions for the Indians like moving Carlos Carrasco into the rotation back in 2014. Callaway has been somewhat of a journeyman in the MLB. Before working in Cleveland, Callaway spent time with the Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Angels and the Tampa Bay Rays. Health has proven to be a problem with the Mets. A slew of pitching injuries hindered their success this season. Callaway’s approach to pitching is durability. It will be interesting to see what changes they make to the pitching core this offseason.
Although Callaway used to be a pitching coach he has touched on the subject and how he will approach the team as a whole. Callaway will have a lot more on his plate with an entire team to manage. He’s going to need a pitching coach that can handle the pitching unit himself. Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said, “I think it’s important to recognize that yes Mickey is a former pitching coach and it’s important for us, because that’s our strength, but at the same time, Mickey will be focused entirely on the 25-man roster and so a pitching coach will be very important.” With the Mets pitching coach being fired at the end of the season, Callaway will have to find a suitable replacement that he can work well with. Callaway is optimistic about the state of the club saying they are not far from the World Series compared to the 2015 team.
Callaway also touched on his feelings being selected as the Mets manage and the opportunity to work in New York. New York is not the easiest place to play or coach, in any sport. But when one brings winning ways to a franchise in New York they can become celebrated, respected and legendary.
Other dynamics to consider
The manager spot with the Mets was well contested. There are reports that originally 35 people were candidates. This was then cut to a list of six. Callaway and Kevin Long (mets hitting coach), among others were the finalists. The name that sticks out after the Mets decision on Callaway is
Kevin Long. Alderson is quoted as saying Long was “…disappointed I think in our decision.” It is clear the Mets hitting coach eagerly wanted the job. Alderson also has allowed Long to engage in talks with other teams. Long’s contract expires October 31st. It seems as though Long’s goal is to manage a ball club.
Long will interview with the Nationals in the coming weeks. This creates an engaging situation in New York. The Mets may lose their hitting coach. If Long decides to return to New York, there may or may not be some bad blood between Callaway and Long.