The Mets did a swift two-step the other day – the Mets way. “No one is safe,” said Jeff Wilpon, but on the other hand, Mickey Callaway is our manager next year.
John Ricco, who has the ear of Mets co-owner Jeff Wilpon, got his first taste of what the next few months may hold for him when he was forced to come to the rescue of Mickey Callaway.
It seems Callaway took to heart Wilpon’s statement during an infrequent Met’s press conference (Extended Video Below) that “No one is safe” in the Mets organization, and whoever the new general manager is will have free rein in deciding on all aspects of team personnel.
When Callaway appeared taken back a bit, Ricco stepped in giving Callaway the dreaded vote of confidence which so often in baseball has come to mean a prelude for a manager’s dismissal. It’s doubtful Callaway is sleeping any better, and perhaps he would have been better off just keeping his cards hidden and his mouth shut.
Because when the Mets, if they want to, put their cards on the table, a forthright conclusion and adjective to apply to Callaway’s first season as a manager are that he’s “pedestrian.” He’s a man who was taken off the streets the last offseason, and he performed in that manner.
To put it another way, while Callaway didn’t shoot himself in the foot unless you want to count the mismanaged exchange of lineup cards embarrassment, he also did not distinguish himself in any fashion from his peers. He was, in brief, your run-of-the-mill major league manager in 2018.
And so it would seem that the Mets organization is correct in holding to the maxim that no one is safe, and everyone, players, coaches, and front office personnel alike are starting fresh when it comes to proving themselves when The Boss arrives.
It can’t be any other way for the Mets. The team gave the season away in June at a time when Mickey Callaway was six months into his tenure as manager. Yes, we know about the injuries. But tell Aaron Boone of the Yankees, or Dave Roberts, manager of the Dodgers, about injuries. They’re part of the game, and good teams overcome them as both the Yankees and Dodgers have done.
And if Callaway’s refrain to those injuries is the “front office didn’t help me,” the fact remains, and Joe Maddon always says this, you still have 25 major league players in your clubhouse. Lead them, direct them, make them play up to your expectations.
Look, I see no reason why Mickey Callaway should be fired. But at the same time, it would appear the three binders containing a host of big ideas and changes he brought to the Mets during his interviews need to be dusted off and implemented. As far as I know, there is no one stopping him. He’s the manager, be the manager.
No one is safe, for many Mets fans, would most likely include the Wilpons. But they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. It’s not happening, so let’s get over it. The Mets have a nucleus of a pennant contending team in 2019, something that was presented only as a mirage in 2018 by the club, and not surprisingly we saw the results.
Add a right-handed power bat to the lineup, preferably at third base, rebuild the bullpen from scratch, sign a credible major league catcher, take the plunge in replacing Dominic Smith with Peter Alonso, keep Yoenis Cespedes exiled for as long as he wants to, and run your starting pitching out there every day, hoping you score at least four runs. It’s not rocket science, folks.
The Mets, with Mickey Callaway or not, will make a franchise dependent decision in hiring a new general manager. It will be incumbent on him (dare I say her?) to fill in the small (these are not significant) pieces to ensure the Mets have the wherewithal to compete in 2019 while making the disappointment still tearing at Mets fans, a forgotten moment in time.
And if someone better than Mickey Callaway comes along to lead the team, grab him and don’t look back. Otherwise, just make sure Callaway knows he’s done nothing special, and the challenge he inherited last season is still operative.