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Mickey Callaway Could Still Be Best Managerial Option

The Mets need to be very careful before they decide to fire Mickey Callaway and let Brodie Van Wagenen, the same man who built this flawed roster, replace him with another manager. Believe it or not, there are things he does well, and those things are a good fit for the Mets plan to contend.

First and foremost, since he’s been the Mets manager, we have seen him keep this Mets pitching staff very healthy. Considering the history which predated him, that’s no small feat.

Steven Matz has pitched in 30 games and pitched in 150+ innings in consecutive seasons after only topping 100 innings once.

Zack Wheeler has consecutive seasons with over 180 innings. He and Matz have also reached their potential with Callaway has been at the helm.

Of course, no one has raised their game as much as Jacob deGrom. Since Callaway’s arrival, deGrom has gone from a staff ace to the best pitcher in baseball, and he’s poised to win his second straight Cy Young.

Like deGrom, Seth Lugo has raised his game as well. Like the starters, Callaway has helped keep him healthy. That’s all the more of a challenge with Lugo and his partially torn UCL.

Remember, at its core, this is a Mets team built on pitching. We’ve seen Callaway and his pitching acumen have a real positive effect on these pitchers in terms of getting the most out of them and keeping them healthy.

In addition to the pitching, we have seen the young position players continue to improve under Callaway and emerge as good to very good players.

Entering last year, some considered Brandon Nimmo a fourth outfielder. As it turned out, he was the second best hitter in the NL last year, and when he was healthy this year, he put up similar numbers.

The Mets thought of Jeff McNeil as just a second baseman, and there were concerns he was just a role player. McNeil would turn into a modern Ben Zobrist playing all over the field and becoming an All-Star this year.

Pete Alonso improved his defense significantly from where it was at the end of last year, and he has the rookie home run record.

Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith entered this year being viewed as busts. Smith was very good at the plate forcing his way into the everyday lineup. Rosario had a big second half making huge strides on both sides of the ball.

The impact goes well beyond that. Even if you don’t want to give Callaway specific credit for what these players have accomplished, we see Callaway has created an environment where young players learn, improve, and prosper.

That is part of Callaway having the pulse of his clubhouse. Certainly, that’s been a factor in the Mets playing hard to the finish in each of the past two years.

Last year, the Mets had nothing to play for, and yet, they didn’t just play out the string. Instead, they played hard and had strong ends to their seasons.

In 2018, the Mets 38-30 second half record was the 11th best in baseball and the best in the National League. In fact, it tied the Braves for the best in the division.

This year, the Mets turned their season completely around. They went from 10 game under at the break to eight games over .500 in the second half. That run got them back onto the race.

Despite that, many will argue Callaway and his in-game moves hold the team back. While we know Callaway isn’t making many of these decisions and is fielding texts with instructions on moves to make from his GM, it’s difficult to defend some of these moves and decisions.

And yet, we see it’s not holding the team back. Last year, their Pythagorean was just one game better than their actual record. That’s the same thing this year. While there are other measures, we should acknowledge this indicates Callaway has gotten what he should’ve from the team.

On that point, you could argue another manager could’ve gotten more out of this roster. That’s fair, but the managers who can do that aren’t readily available. There’s also the doubt the Mets will pony up for a big name like Dusty Baker, Joe Girardi, or whomever else with a track record you COULD trust to take the Mets over the top.

If the Mets ate getting that top flight manager, then, by all means, get him. Callaway and his potential as a manager should not stand in the way.

If they’re not, they better be sure they’re getting a real upgrade. That’s easier said than done. The replacement needs to be able to keep the pitching healthy and performing at a high level to shield against the lack of depth.

The manager needs to be adept at developing talent and having the team fight like this team has fought the past two years.

Finding someone who can do these things are much easier said than done. Given the Mets history and Van Wagenen’s brief tenure, it’s more likely they do worse, much worse. With that in mind, absent the proven commodity, the Mets may very well be best suited to sticking with Callaway.

16 thoughts on “Mickey Callaway Could Still Be Best Managerial Option”

  1. David Klein says:

    Good case to be a pitching coach but not a manager, sane people see him as the worst choice to manage here or anywhere.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Young position players developing and the team playing hard for him is a good case to be a pitching coach?

      And I have news for everyone, the next guy is likely to be worse, especially since many of the in-game decisions which everyone is so worked up about aren’t always coming from him.

      1. David Klein says:

        You have proof of that? And it’s impossible to be worse and the Team plays hard for this manager Stupidity is just that.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          I linked the reports which provide the proof.

  2. Oldbackstop says:

    The in game decisions rap is built around rumors of one instance where deGrom was pulled, and the rumor that it wasn’t the only time. It doesn’t mean Brodie is telling him 10 times a game when to warm up which reliever or pinch hit or double shift.

    You cherry pick out pitchers and say he was successful. Yeah, so successful his pitching staff was canned mid year and replaced by an 82 year old. Noah absolutely sucked, way below league average in fully half his starts. Diaz blew up. Matz is still wildly inconsistent, healthy or not.

    You want to say he deserves credit for what went right and everything else was texted by Brodie.

    I don’t like Callaway. He is too affable, as Kevin Costner said in that Western movie. He is too much a players manager. He says things like “Matzie had some bad luck ” We need a bad ass.

    And I like Brodie coming in and shaking up a 77 win team. We won more games on the same payroll. He made some risky moves, and the Cano deal in particular looks bad at current date. But the JD Davis deal looks like a steal. Ramos was a much needed offensive bat and was a better catcher than Noah’s smearing might imply.

    Lowrie, well….oh, I forgot, health is Callaway’s department. Not Brodie’s fault.

    Noah and Diaz killed the year. Those were supposed to be Mickeys closer and number two starter — young, proven stars who were healthy all year, and Callaway couldn’t straighten them out. If Callaway had been the pitching coach, and not the manager, he would have been fired mid year.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      The reports were it happened on a number of occasions, not once. Don’t try to recreate facts to support a false narrative to buttress an awful GM.

      And I know I can take your statements with a grain of salt because you admit it’s driven by your dislike of him.

      1. Oldbackstop says:

        I didn’t think an educated adult could fit “a number of” and “recreate facts” into the same paragraph.

        Since you know, what was the number? Three? 90? 8-10? Approximately three dozen? What number do you have on your mind when you think “a number of occasions” shuts up some who is “recreating facts”?

        Is there never a scenario where a GM might communicate with a manager? Is it like a jury sequestration thing? What if he has subtle insights or information the manager might not have about a given situation?

        1. metsdaddy says:

          I’ll just play the inverse. Tell me how many decisions were made by Callaway and how many were made by other people.

          Cite your work.

      2. David Klein says:

        Says the guy defending an awful manager.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          Yes, I’m pointing out three things he’s done quite well during his two year tenure, and I’ll note, I’m not willing to just give up on a guy after just two years when he does these things well.

          I look back to Francona, Callaway’s mentor. He was looked upon as a terrible manager in Philly. Now, he’s not just considered one of the best in the game, but now, he’s a Hall of Famer.

          No, I’m not saying Callaway will be a Hall of Famer. I’m saying don’t give up on him unless you have a proven commodity

  3. Blair M. Schirmer says:

    Any of Maddon, Joe Girardi, Buck Showalter, and Mike Scioscia appear available and interested in managing.

    As for Callaway, he’s a fool. He’s not just easily the worst manager in the majors, he’s completely unqualified for the job. He doesn’t believe in analytics, in using data, in the validity of statistics. He’s even said so, in one of the most comically foolish statements ever uttered:

    “I bet 85 percent of our decisions go against the analytics, and that is how it’s always going to be, because that is just on paper. It doesn’t take into account the person is a human being [yes it does], how he performs in these big spots [yes it does], all these things a manager looks at.”

    Only Callaway could make up a percentage to describe how statistics are largely meaningless to him and showing that he doesn’t have the first clue about what stats measure. This would be comical coming from some buffoon in the stands. From an actual manager, the manager of my team, it’s excruciating.

    As for ‘keeping the team together’ why did he put them in such a deep, deep hole to begin with, both last year and this year? Why did Syndergaard get worse last year, then even worse this year? Why, now that’s he’s healthy, was Wheeler only able to pitch at his peak for 1/3 of 2018 then pitch much worse this year? Why is Matz, despite being healthy, still a below average pitcher who can’t go past 5 innings? Why did Stroman come to the Mets and immediately become worse, when changing leagues favors pitchers? Why did Edwin Diaz come to the Mets and turn in his worst season, by far? Why did Matt Harvey leave the Mets last year and immediately become a much better pitcher? Why did Swarzak get dealt away from the Mets and knock more than a run and a half off his ERA this season? Why has Callaway presided over two catastrophic bullpens in a row? Why did Familia collapse after his first full year under Callaway? Why did Callaway preside over the worst season of Avilan’s career? Why has Corey Oswalt become completely useless under Callaway? Why do guys like Gagnon, Bashlor, Lockett, Zamora, etc., etc., etc., etc., guys with obvious potential, almost invariably come up and not just falter, but completely implode, even when they’re only being asked to throw 15-20 pitches twice a week? And these are only the *pitchers,* wrt which Callaway is supposed to be at his best. The number of failures in Callaway’s time with the Mets number in the dozens, and that’s after only two years.

    His performance has been unbelievably bad.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      You keep bringing up the quote like what he says matters and like he’s the one making all the decisions.

      1. Blair M. Schirmer says:

        I’ve brought up the quote three times since it was spoken six weeks ago to show how completely unqualified Callaway is for any MLB managerial gig. Nothing speaks so clearly to both his thinking, and to why his teams never get an edge on the field.

        As for the wholly false imputation that I’m claiming “he’s the one making all the decisons,” by all means show where that occurred WITHOUT taking me completely out of context. I’ll wait.

        If anything, Mickey looks even worse if we focus only on the things that are most likely to bear his stamp rather than Wags’ or the Wilpons’, such as how players do when they come to the Mets with projectable records, including minor league play, and how they do when they leave the Mets. That provides a solid data set through which to look at a statistically significant number of players, and its pattern, alone, warrants Callaway’s firing. Heck, just *half* that pattern warrants his firing.

        Why you’ve chosen to die on this particular hill is baffling, MD. No one, literally no one, talks about Callaway’s managerial future as anything but terminating this year or next–and rightly so. The only question is whether he’ll be fired this offseason, or a miserly ownership will let him play out the string. Callaway is obviously, even blatantly inept, and after he leaves the Mets he’ll never manage in the majors again.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          The problem is people call him inept while refusing to acknowledge what he’s done well and realize he’s left holding the bad having to explain someone else’s decisions

  4. Oldbackstop says:

    @Blair. Awesome post.

    Callaway lost me very early on when he was asked about “openers” ala Tampa Bay, and simply responded ” Oh, the pitchers wouldn’t like it.”

    It was clear then that the 20 something player egos would be running Callaway, not the other way around.

    1. Blair M. Schirmer says:

      @Oldbackstop Hey, thanks a lot. And over a long and difficult season, have to say I’ve greatly enjoyed your comments.

      Yes, the ‘pitchers not liking something’ isn’t close to good enough reason to reject an idea with a great deal of merit, particularly on a Mets team with two starters who often struggle to go 5, in Matz and Vargas. Since you know you’ll be bringing in a reliever(s), particularly with the back of the rotation, why not do it in the first inning against those teams where you can find an edge with the first few batters, and where doing so postpones the first hitters in the opposing batting order seeing your vulnerable starter for the third time in a given game?

      The only thing I’d want a team to do when using an Opener is not try to take advantage of their SPs who as a result don’t get the nominal ‘start’ when they come up for arbitration.

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