Mickey Callaway has been put on one-year probation to validate his job as the Mets manager by frontrunner for the Mets GM job, Doug Melvin. Perfect!
Mickey Callaway, Mets fans will recall, was brought in as manager in a hiring blitz at this time last year. It was a move that gave the impression the Mets couldn’t wait a minute more to remove themselves from any memories of Terry Collins.
Oddly, since then, Collins has become a fast-rising star in the Mets front office hierarchy. But it was really about Mickey Callaway and the three black binders he brought with him throughout the interview process, which contained a blueprint formulated by Callaway himself over the years to one day manage a big league team.
Charging into Spring Training, Mickey Callaway couldn’t contain himself as he tried to implement his ideas into something real with the New York Mets. By and large, players and fans latched on to Callaway believing, “Okay, this is great, we’ve got something new here.”
And when Callaway’s Mets opened the season winning eleven of their first twelve games, fans along with a large contingent of the media were delirious with visions of a romp to the playoffs. We know what followed though, and as the season wore on Mickey Callaway all but threw those black binders away in frustration as managing misadventures piled on.
Here’s the way Melvin (pictured above) tellingly spoke about Callaway in the press conference the Mets arranged for him to see how he “handles” the media:
Note that Melvin didn’t say Mickey Callaway deserves a chance at another year, he used the word probably. In the practical world, however, Melvin has to realize the Mets have bigger and more urgent problems to deal with than a manager, meaning Callaway is on the bubble from day one with a short leash, but he still holds his job.
Given all the issues the Mets struggled with during the 2018 season, it would be unfair to hang the noose on Callaway’s head. Still, Mickey Callaway’s roster contained 25 players wearing a major league uniform. Same as Kevin Cash of the Tampa Bay Rays and Bob Melvin of the Oakland A’s, each of whom made do with what they were given to work with to produce 90 win seasons.
Mickey Callaway didn’t do a whole lot of things wrong; it’s just that he didn’t do much of anything right to help overcome his team’s deficiencies. Unless, of course, you want to hurl that embarrassing lineup snafu at him again, which was latched onto by the media and some fans as Calloway’s get out of town card.
All things considered, Doug Melvin hit a home run by publicly putting Callaway on the hot seat from the get-go. The “sitdown” between the two surmounts almost anything that will transpire between the two men. No one (I know of) has asked Callaway to talk extensively about his managerial philosophy. Yes, we know he can handle a pitching staff. But as manager, he shouldn’t need to as that responsibility falls on his pitching coach, Dave Eiland.
And if Callaway is devoting a portion of his time to working with his pitchers, that only means another of his responsibilities is falling by the wayside. My misgivings about Mickey Callaway began to take shape late in June when I wrote a piece titled, “Taking A Second Look At Mickey Callaway.” Not much has changed since then, which is why I believe Doug Melvin is correct in wanting and needing to take a close look at Callaway.
Give the Mets credit too for considering Melvin as their next GM, and moving away from the likes of a Dave Littlefield. Melvin is tired of spending his days fishing and appears to have a fire relit in his baseball gut. And as we know, that’s something that’s been missing in the Mets front office for some time now…
Reports are now indicating that Doug Melvin has been eliminated from consideration as the next Mets GM. Which may cause one to wonder if he touched the third rail within the Mets hierarchy by “outing” Mickey Callaway…
Written by Steve Contursi, Editor
Reflections On Baseball