The spotlight has shone brightly on Mets GM, Brodie Van Wagenen. Soon, he’ll pass the baton to Mickey Callaway. What happens then?
Second-year manager, Mickey Callaway sits on the sidelines as his rookie general manager, Brodie Van Wagenen, adds the final pieces to the Mets team that will take the field on Opening Day. It’s a far different team from last year, with some new pieces added, and hopefully a couple more on the way.
Van Wagenen’s job title carries a myriad of responsibilities, but none is more critical than providing Callaway with a roster of 25 men who have the abilities and baseball acumen to win. Beyond that, Van Wagenen must be there to find those new pieces once the season is underway, with injuries and underperforming players forcing changes in the roster.
Last season, as a rookie manager, Mickey Callaway was somewhat insulated from the fire burning around the Mets disastrous collapse of the team, save for the super-human effort of Cy Young winner, Jacob deGrom.
Calloway never expressed his feelings in words, but the inference always seemed to be, “Hey, what do want from me? I’m doing the best I can with this patchwork of a team.” And maybe he does deserve a mulligan given the inaction of his GM at the time, Sandy Alderson, to answer the cries from Mets fans to “do something.”
All that goes away now, though, and Mickey Callaway will not have these excuses anymore. No, he will not have the squad the Red Sox, Astros, Dodgers, and even the one the Braves put out there. But Callaway will have enough to win, and he’d better show up to make it happen. Because the hard truth of the matter is that Callaway is not Brodie’s “guy,” and therefore, he has no particular allegiance to Callaway if the team on the field doesn’t right its ship this season.
There’s nothing wrong with Mickey Callaway. But the question persists if there enough right about him. At this level of baseball, you can’t say, “I’m doing the best I can” in the face of defeat and losing. You are tasked to win just like the players, and you’d better produce. If for some reason, Mickey Callaway doesn’t feel that pressure, he should.
Robinson Cano will help, as will Wilson Ramos as the everyday catcher replacing Travis d’Arnaud. Edwin Diaz and Jeurys Familia fortify a depleted bullpen. And Van Wagenen continues to work on bringing in a right-handed outfield bat, along with a seasoned but inexpensive starter.
Van Wagenen is pushing for Peter Alonso to be given the full-time job at first base, but the ultimate call will be made by Callaway. Brodie also wants to see Jeff McNeil in the Mets lineup somewhere every day. But again, that’s Mickey Callaway’s call, and how he handles and juxtaposes his lineups will be closely watched by everyone.
Mickey Callaway has no pedigree in major league baseball. He is not Aaron Boone or Alex Cora, both of whom come from baseball families and grew up in a big league clubhouse. Instead, he’s a self-made man who walked into his interviews with the Mets carrying two three-ring black binders filled with his thoughts on what he intended to do with the Mets if given a chance.
Lord knows where those binders are now, but surely Mickey Callaway has come to learn the complexities of managing a big league team these days, and how little control, given injuries and clashing egos, a manager can have in the scheme of things when all is said and done.
Nevertheless, the Mets team that will take the field in April is a team capable of winning a lot more than they lose. How much more? Well, let’s not get carried away.
But one thing remains self-evident, Mickey Callaway will be tested in 2019, and rightfully so. He tried his best last year, and it wasn’t good enough. He gets a pass because there is no one who could have righted that Mets ship.
No more, though. Soon, the spotlight will be exclusively on Mickey Callaway and what he does with these New York Mets.
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