Mickey Callaway’s days are dwindling to a few. Criticize him as a manager but give credit where it’s due as a stand-up man…
Mickey Callaway can see the proverbial writing on the wall. As the star witness to a dismal first half by his team, Callaway knows the Mets let the season get away from them, waiting too long to wake from their slumber and disarray, to finally realize the potential of their talent.
Joe Maddon once said, “It doesn’t matter where you start, what counts is where you finish.”
That’s usually true in baseball but not always. The Washington Nationals, for instance, were once 19-31 on May 23 when they lost to the Mets. Today, they own the top spot as a Wild Card in the National League, going 73-38 the rest of the way.
In contrast though, as late as July 24 the Mets were eleven games under .500 with a 44-55 record. Mickey Callaway rallied the troops, and the troops rallied themselves to finish the season playing .600 baseball. All for naught.
Philosophical and upbeat to the end, Callaway told the New York Daily News yesterday:
Technically, Callaway is still the manager of the New York Mets. But we know he is a lame-duck appointee by Sandy Alderson. General Managers want their man at the helm, and Brodie Van Wagenen is not likely to prove any different.
There will be a plethora of dismissed managers for Van Wagenen to choose from by the time the World Series is completed. Joe Maddon, Alex Cora, and Gabe Kapler are all walking the same plank as Callaway, joining Andy Green who has been fired by the Padres, and Ed Yost, who’s decided he’s had enough with the Royals.
And then, of course, there’s Joe Girardi, who is sitting on the sidelines licking his chops and waiting for the right offer to come along.
Or, and this is a better possibility, Van Wagenen has already been in in-depth discussions with the “mystery man,” who will be announced within days of Callaway’s dismissal.
Callaway: Good But Not Good Enough
Mets players don’t get a vote, and neither do we as this is strictly between Van Wagenen and the okay from the Wilpons. For all it might matter, Van Wagenen will turn a deaf ear to Jeff McNeil, who had this to say about Callaway:
“(Callaway) deserves a lot of credit. We love playing for him. He’s a lot of fun. He keeps the clubhouse loose, keeps it fun, has meetings when you have to have meetings. I credit a lot to him. He’s done a great job,” McNeil told WFAN.
The grass is always greener, right? But, can anyone ask for a more stand-up person than Mickey Callaway. Except for that one ugly incident on June 23 between Callaway and a New Jersey reporter, his record over two years is unblemished in terms of a person you would want representing your team.
The trouble for Callaway lies in the details. The little things, like the time he allowed one of his coaches to present the wrong lineup card to the umpires. Or the time he allegedly took orders from Van Wagenen to prematurely remove Jacob deGrom from a game.
Not One Bit Of It Matters Though
Once a decision is made at a corporate level of any business, the wheels are set in motion. Mets fans are calling for action this offseason to reset the team for 2020.
What better place to start than by picking the low hanging fruit to distract everyone from the more intense and difficult decisions that lie ahead regarding team personnel?
Van Wagenen will have little or no trouble convincing the Wilpons to forego the $1.3 million owed to Callaway for 2020. But the crunch will come when he tries to reason with them about the Mets need for a genuine third baseman who can hit for power (think $$ and Anthony Rendon). What happens then?
Not to mention the weighty dollar and sense decisions regarding players like Dominic Smith, Edwin Diaz, Zack Wheeler, and Noah Syndergaard, all of whom have question marks attached to their name regarding their future with the team.
Get It Done And Move On
If indeed, the Mets are going to make a change with Callaway, get it done and move on.
And for God’s sake, let Callaway down gently. Don’t leave him tristing in the wind about his future. He’s been looking behind his back all season.
Have a job lined up for Callaway he can step into immediately, at least for next year. His position can be as a roving instructor for pitchers in the Met’s minor league system.
Or dare I say as the new Met’s pitching coach, replacing the always ready but gracefully aging, Phil Regan.
I’m not a big fan of Mickey Callaway as a manager, but I am convinced he is the type of person who has ongoing value to the Mets as an organization.
In the same vein as Terry Collins, we should thank Callaway for his service – while stepping aside for the inevitable change – to meet the new manager of the New York Mets. Brodie, that’s your cue…