Mickey Callaway

Billy Eppler Might Be Worst Possible Hire For Mets

Maybe, it’ll work out. Maybe, the real problem in Los Angeles was Arte Moreno. With the Wilpons, you don’t have to convince New York Mets fans of that.

That said, there’s nothing to like about the Mets hiring Billy Eppler as the New GM.

You’re stuck as to where to begin on how this is a bad choice, and you’re left wondering why the Mets didn’t just delay this process longer. After all, this is someone who couldn’t build a winner with Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani, who is now entasked can with building a winner around Jacob deGrom and Francisco Lindor.

It doesn’t make sense. That’s even before you consider his free agent signings make the Bobby Bonilla deal seem like a bargain. The problem for Eppler was he never turned Justin Upton into a David Wright.

A big reason why is Eppler has a very poor draft and player development track record with the Angels. With respect to the Mets, it’s the one of the few things they did well, so the hope is their existent structure can offset one of Eppler’s many weaknesses.

However, in many ways, none of this is Eppler’s biggest issue. No, Eppler’s biggest issue is he hired Mickey Callaway.

Like Alderson, Eppler hired the worst kept secret in baseball. Like Alderson, he kept Callaway employed while he harassed women.

Undoubtedly, Eppler will blame Joe Maddon, who really wanted Callaway. Moreover, he can blame the owner who pushed to hire Maddon and give him what he wants.

It’s akin to Alderson. Most are aware Callaway was hired by Jeff Wilpon. Alderson wanted Kevin Long or Brad Ausmus, a manager actually hired by Eppler.

In a way, that might be one of the positives we try to tell ourselves. Alderson and Eppler are aligned in many ways. We also hear Eppler is good friends with David Stearns, who is the real target. The other bonus is he’s not Brodie Van Wagenen.

However, in the end, this amounts to nothing more than talking ourselves into a bad hire. We can continue to do it until the Mets hire the president of baseball operations they ultimately want to hire.

Kevin Long Again Made Case To Be Mets Manager

It was a very poorly kept secret back in 2017 if he had his druthers Sandy Alderson wanted to hire Kevin Long to succeed Terry Collins as the New York Mets manager. Long didn’t take anything for granted coming extremely prepared for the interview with binders of information. More than that, he had already had a profound impact on the Mets organization rejuvenating Curtis Granderson while transforming Yoenis Cespedes and Daniel Murphy.

However, it wasn’t to be. Instead, Jeff Wilpon got it in his mind he wanted to have Mickey Callaway as the manager. Despite Callaway interviewing poorly, it was enough for Wilpon to hire Callaway after one interview because the Philadelphia Phillies showed interest. As Mets fans can recall, this went over about as well as when the Mets included Jarred Kelenic in the Robinson Cano trade because the Phillies showed interest in Edwin Diaz.

Since then, the managerial position has been a disaster for the Mets. Callaway proved to be an awful human being harassing female reporters. After him, the Mets hired and then were effectively forced to fire Carlos Beltran. In a mad scramble, they hired Luis Rojas while completely failing to give him any chance to succeed in the position. Rather that let him continue to grow, the team has decided they need to go in a different direction.

Now, there are many moving pieces before the Mets get to hire a new manager. The biggest is the need to hire a new president of baseball operations. Presumably, that is the person who will and should have the biggest input on who the Mets next manager will be. Whatever the case, the Mets have the right to correct the mistake they made in 2017 and hire Long.

For his part, Long served the world with a reminder why he was managerial material. During the National League Wild Card Game, he was sitting next to superstar Juan Soto, a player Long has helped get the most out of his ability. Soto was wearing a Trea Turner jersey (another player Long has helped immensely) while Long wore a Max Scherzer jersey.

In that moment, you saw everything you could have possibly wanted to see from a future manager of your team. He was standing there with his star player, a player in Soto he helped take from a 19 year old wunderkind to a bona fide Major League superstar. More than that, he showed the incredibly great relationship he fostered with his superstar player, the very type of relationship a manager absolutely needs to have any level of success.

We also saw the sense of loyalty he has for his players. He went out there to support both Turner and Scherzer. It was a moment which meant so much to them Scherzer made sure to go over to the stands to celebrate his team’s walk-off win with them. Keep in mind here, Scherzer is a free agent who should be on everyone’s radar.

When we look at the modern game and the current status of the managerial role, it is increasingly about relationships with the players and the ability to communicate. It’s no longer about Gil Hodges playing a hunch or Davey Johnson trusting his eyes over the data. Increasingly, it’s about taking the game plan prepared by the front office and not just executing it, but getting the players to buy in on the plan.

Putting aside what happened in the NL Wild Card Game, this is exactly what Long does. He helped transform Cespedes from a wild swinger to a player better able to identify his pitch and become a monster at the plate. There was also Murphy who went from gap to gap hitter to a legitimate threat at the plate. Murphy showed the 2015 postseason wasn’t a fluke by any means when he became an All-Star and MVP candidate with the Washington Nationals. It should be noted Long followed Murphy to Washington, D.C.

In total, Long is what you want in a manager. He can process data and translate it to players in a way where they can understand and execute it. We also see he is a coach who can foster great relationships with this players. He is also loyal to his players, and they love him. Short of being able to steal away the Bob Melvins of the world, you’re not going to find a better managerial candidate than Long.

Alderson knew it in 2017, and he can do what he wanted to do back then and make Long the Mets manager. If that is the case, we can expect the maddening Mets offense to finally click and for this team to reach the World Series potential we know they have.

Theo Epstein Should Never Be Under Consideration For Mets

According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the New York Mets are looking to hire a big name president of baseball operations. This has led to Mets fans clamoring for Theo Epstein.

The talking points are breaking the curses with the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs. Of course, this ignores the Mets are partially in the predicament they’re in because of Theo Epstein.

Initially, the Mets had hired Jared Porter to be the GM with Zack Scott beneath him. This create the opportunity for Porter to grow into the president role under Sandy Alderson’s tutelage.

As we know, that didn’t happen due to a report from Mina Kimes and Jeff Passan of ESPN which reported Porter’s sexual harassment transgressions while a member of the Cubs. An important part of that report was the Cubs knew and actively tried to whitewash and hide the claims.

On this topic, remember Mets owner Steve Cohen hired WilmerHale to investigate the organization in the wake of the Porter and Mickey Callaway news. This led to the firing of at least two people, but more than that, it was supposed to be an indication the Mets were going to change the organizational culture and uproot these behaviors.

Cohen can’t do that and then hire Epstein. Epstein built the culture Cohen purportedly wants to eliminate. By hiring Epstein, it’s a signal Cohen never actually cared.

Frankly, Epstein doesn’t care. He’s the same guy who traded for Aroldis Chapman the same year he was suspended for choking and threatening his girlfriend with a gun firing it off in the garage. He’s also the person who actually tendered Addison Russell a contract after his vile physical and emotional abuse of his ex-wife.

If you don’t care and just think curse breaker, well, honestly, that’s just wrong. There’s no need for Epstein when there are so many other great people out there who could do an even better job.

If you remain unconvinced, remember, Epstein pissed off Kris Bryant with the service time manipulation. The Mets are in desperate need of a third baseman, and the free agent pool is essentially Bryant or nothing.

Does it really help the Mets to hire someone who will make signing all the more difficult? In reality, your answer shouldn’t hinge on this. There’s more than enough reasons beyond this to never want Epstein as part of the organization. In fact, there’s no reason why Epstein is even in baseball.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Might Be In Trouble

The New York Mets traveled to Atlanta, and they lost yet another road series.

1. At 17-25, the Mets are an awful road team, and they’re not going anywhere if they can’t correct this.

2. When you include the one Washington Nationals make-up game, the Mets three out of four. Digging deeper, they’ve lost 10 out of their last 16.

3. Unless there was a sinkhole on the infield dirt, Luis Guillorme, who was charging in on the ball, was not out-running Ronald Acuña to third.

4. Only Jacob deGrom could have a seven inning game where he allows three runs while walking none and striking out 14 a bad start.

5. It’s very troubling Sandy Alderson hired Mickey Callaway (or at least was the GM when Jeff Wilpon did it), hired Jared Porter, and came extremely close to signing Trevor Bauer. Oh, and he was the guy who brought back Jose Reyes.

6. There’s absolutely no place for Bauer in baseball.

7. We’re starting to see more Jeff McNeil at third late in games. He should be there everyday.

8. Mets are a clutch James McCann three run homer from the walls caving in on them.

9. He was injured, but David Peterson hasn’t been good or consistent all year. The sad part is even with that they still need him.

10. Maybe it’s a blip, or maybe the league has figured out Sean Reid-Foley, but his last few appearances haven’t been good.

11. The Thomas Szapucki outing was disheartening as he didn’t really show any indication he’d be ready to help the Mets this year.

12. Tylor Megill has more than earned more starts, and seeing everything, Corey Oswalt should be slotting in behind him in the rotation as they continue to stretch him out.

13. Albert Almora has now surrendered more homers and RBI than he’s hit. Good on him for volunteering to pitch, but there’s no reason for him to stay up over Billy McKinney when Brandon Nimmo is healthy.

14. Mets need a lot more of what Dominic Smith provided this past week, especially since his LF defense isn’t good.

15. Pete Alonso has been hitting a lot better of late, but sooner or later, he needs to start hitting a home. The same could be said for this entire Mets team.

16. With the great second base defense Jose Peraza has provided and his big hits the Mets should be really be considering his role going forward with the team. You could argue he should be playing everyday.

17. The Mets will never do it, but J.D. Davis still has minor league options and can’t refuse an assignment to Syracuse. Given how he can’t play a position, and his activation may force a Peraza DFA, he should be sent to Syracuse where he can actually learn how to play defense.

18. Speaking of Syracuse, it’s an embarrassment to the Mets and MLB that the Mets organization is not providing housing and other needs to minor leaguers they’re barely paying.

19. The quote was met with derision but hitting coach Hugh Quattlebaum is right. He needs to focus on processes. When processes are correct and clicking, the runs will then follow.

20. The Mets and Yankees both head into the Subway Series in complete disarray and with the threat of all three games being rained out.

Game Recaps

Mets McCann Hit

Albert Almora Pitched, So It Was an Ugly Loss

Nothing Luis Guillorme Could Do

Mickey Callaway Harassed Women Longer Than He’s Suspended

Former New York Mets Manager Mickey Callaway was suspended through the end of the 2022 season. At that time, the now deposed Los Angeles Angels pitching coach can apply for reinstatement to Major League Baseball.

In some respects, this is good because it’s a harsher penalty than any steroid user faces for a single offense. It’s also more severe than what the Houston Astros faced.

Going further, it’s a harsher penalty than what Jose Reyes or any domestic abuser has faced. So, yes, to that end, it’s progress.

However, the penalty in and of itself is just a slap on the wrist and falls far short of being reflective of Callaway’s actions. To that, it’s time to revisit the allegations in the article written by Brittany Ghiroli and Katie Strang of The Athletic.

Callaway was accused of sending UNWANTED and UNSOLICITED pornographic pictures of himself to female reporters and requesting they reciprocate. He’d leverage his position inviting these same and other reports out for drinks to provide news or leaks.

This on top of his thrusting himself towards female reporters, and you see this was a monster. This wasn’t just harassing behavior, it was borderline criminal. Keep in mind, that’s just what we know.

Callaway’s response to this was to deny wrongdoing. He did that despite behaving this way for over five years. He did that despite their being text messages between him and his victims.

Either he knew he was screwed and opted to push Major League Baseball to act, or he really had no clue his behavior was disgusting and wrong.

It needs to be reiterated Callaway’s lewd and malicious actions took place for a period over five years. It involved multiple women, and he showed no signs of remorse. He then dragged MLB further through the mud. Of course, he did that to a situation partially of MLB’s making.

The response? A two year suspension?After FIVE PLUS YEARS of harassment, he’s suspended for TWO!

TWO!!!!!

In that suspension, there’s no mandatory counseling and/or a framework for it. There’s no coinciding MLB partnership with organizations to aide in eliminating this behavior.

Sure, MLB put the provision for application for reinstatement, but that’s just kicking the rock down the road. It only has teeth if they want it to have teeth.

As we saw with Alex Cora with the Boston Red Sox and A.J. Hinch with the Detroit Tigers, if a team thinks they can help you win, they won’t care about your transgressions. Now, what Cora and Hinch did doesn’t compare to the heinous acts of Callaway, but the point remains.

After all, Callaway was “the worst kept secret in baseball.” Everyone knew what he was doing, and yet, he wasn’t fired by the Cleveland Indians. Worse yet, he was actually hired by the Mets and Angels.

In sum, we see the problem is bigger than just Callaway. To that end, we get the sense of why over five years of harassment leads to just a two year suspension.

Mickey Callaway Still Angels Employee One Month Into Season

The news Mickey Callaway was harassing women while a member of multiple organizations came to light in an article written by reported by Brittany Ghiroli and Katie Strang of The Athletic. That was the beginning of February.

In reality, the Los Angeles Angels and really all of baseball were aware prior to that report being published. After all, Callaway’s actions were termed as “the worst kept secret in baseball.”

Callaway denied the allegations, even with their being pictures and texts, and as such, an investigation was launched. That investigation is nearing its third month, and its carried through the first month of the season.

At this point, we cannot be sure what the hold-up is. This does seem like a lengthy amount of time for contract buyout talks. Maybe Callaway is looking to negotiate a deal where he gives up others while keeping his job and/or salary. No one can be quite certain.

The only thing we’re certain is Callaway is still employed for the time being, and no one can be quite sure how much longer he will be an Angels employee. All we do know is he’s currently employed by the Angels.

Wherever the Angels and MLB are doing now better be good. After all, with baseball obsessed with pace under Rob Manfred, everyone is certainly slow playing this.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets On Rocky Mountain High

The New York Mets flew into Colorado, and they were greeted with snow. That meant another postponement and another doubleheader to the schedule. It just seems like this is the way 2021 is going to go:

1. Marcus Stroman has been nothing short of phenomenal. He’s fielding his position better than anyone, and he’s 3-0 with a 0.90 ERA. He’s been better than expected, which is saying something.

2. As great as Stroman has been, Jacob deGrom is still the best pitcher on the planet. His striking out 14 and nine in a row once again put him on the precipice of Tom Seaver‘s level. That’s a testament to how great he is.

3. One remarkable thing is through the first seven years of their careers, deGrom has a better ERA+ than Seaver, and seeing the way he has started this year, it will continue through their first eight seasons. Of course, Seaver threw a lot more innings.

4. It was nice to see deGrom get picked up by his offense for once. It was also great to see Francisco Lindor deliver his first game winning RBI as a member of the Mets. Certainly, it will be the first of many.

5. Lindor’s enthusiasm out there is only matched by Stroman’s. When you have these two players out there, it makes the Mets not just more likeable but more exciting to watch.

6. While Lindor and James McCann have not hit yet the way we expect them to hit, their defense has been terrific. Case in point was McCann gunning down Trevor Story to end the game with an exceptional tag from Lindor.

7. The defense still hasn’t been there from Michael Conforto who has had a misplay and a poor throw on Saturday. On the bright side, he has started hitting again.

8. Pete Alonso has started picking it up. He has been hitting it hard all year, and at least in Coors Field, his rockets were finding holes.

9. The best way to describe how great Brandon Nimmo has been to start the season is a 1-for-4 day is an off-day. After all, it was the first time all season he only reached base fewer than two times.

10. It looks like it just might be one of those hard luck years for Jeff McNeil as not matter how much he hits it hard, it is just going to find someone.

11. While we can expect the bat to turn around, we don’t know when his glove will. He made an error which almost cost the Mets the win. While it is still early, he is at a -1 OAA. He’s generally better than that, so it is still too early to be concerned.

12. That said, the Mets best defensive alignment is still with McNeil at third and Luis Guillorme at second. That is something to keep in mind when the Mets continue to run out ground ball pitcher after ground ball pitcher.

13. Speaking of Guillorme, despite his playing very well to start the season, it appears with J.D. Davis activated off the IL, he’ll never play again. That is all the more baffling considering the Mets have all of these ground ball pitchers, and Guillorme is a flat out better player.

14. There was far too much of an overreaction to Luis Rojas going to Robert Gsellman and Jacob Barnes in the second game of the doubleheader. The Mets simply cannot keep going to Trevor May and Miguel Castro every day. They are going to burn out, and then you’re stuck with Barnes trying to hold leads.

15. The bigger issue was Barnes making the roster in the first place. The Mets had better options, and they eschewed them to carry him on the roster. Case-in-point, it appears Joey Lucchesi is probably better suited to the bullpen, which would have allowed them to carry Jordan Yamamoto.

16. Speaking of Mets pitching decisions, Steven Matz has been phenomenal to start the season. Trading him was a completely unforced error. Hopefully, it will not cost them at some point this season. And yes, he would have been successful with the Mets this year.

17. Seeing all that has transpired, it is hard to believe Sandy Alderson still has a job with the Mets. Perhaps, Steve Cohen is allowing the organizational review to complete before taking action. Until that time, Cohen at least deserves the benefit of the doubt.

18. On that topic, we are three weeks into the season, and Mickey Callaway is still employed by the Los Angeles Angels.

19. So far, Edwin Diaz has been really good. If so, that is great news for the Mets and their chances of winning the division.

20. Jonathan Villar hitting a pinch hit RBI double driving home pinch runner Albert Almora speaks to the depth the Mets have built. If they continue getting contributions from their entire roster like the way they are right now, this is going to be a truly special season.

Sandy Alderson Needs To Be Fired

When the initial reports regarding Mickey Callaway came to light, there was room to excuse Sandy Alderson. After all, there wasn’t much about Callaway that was under his purview.

Callaway wasn’t Alderson’s choice. He was hired by the Wilpons. It’s also notable Alderson was battling with cancer, and he was no longer with the organization when Callaway’s harassment was reported.

While Alderson was able to escape culpability and blame for Callaway, the recent report from Katie Strang and Brittany Ghiroli of The Athletic make it very clear Alderson was a very real part of the problem. In fact, Alderson helped build that culture.

Alderson hired harassers over complaints and warnings of female employees. He was aware of at least some of the harassment, perhaps all of it. He knew and was well connected with the head of Human Resources, Holly Lindvall, who tried to silence and terminate those who objected to harassment.

Remember, it was Lindvall who told Leigh Castergine to resign when she complained about Jeff Wilpon. We now know there were more complaints, and those complaints were similarly ignored.

There may have been a time we could give Alderson a charitable treatment regarding the harassment. After all, this was a veteran and Harvard educated man. He was self made.

Alderson seemed like a good guy. He certainly grew in stature while serving as a juxtaposition to Jeff Wilpon. In fact, Alderson was a direct contrast to Wilpon.

The problem is he wasn’t. Alderson may not have been the perpetrator of harassment, but he sure was an enabler. He also sees no wrong in what he did, and if his statements aren’t taken out of context, he may not have an issue with what was done.

It’s sad. Alderson spent the whole of his life building a reputation. His return to the Mets was supposed to be in glory and about unfinished business.

Instead, the same stink that attaches to everything the Wilpons touch attached to him, and he has no one to blame by himself. He could have and should have done something, and instead, he chose to allow it to happen time and again.

Due to his actions, he needs to be fired. No, he should not be allowed to resign on his own accord. Steve Cohen has to send a clear message he doesn’t condone what predated him. That requires firing his most prominent hire.

Mickey Callaway Still Angels Pitching Coach

On February 1, 2021, Britany Ghiroli and Katie Strang of The Athletic wrote an article exposing how Mickey Callaway has sexually harassed women while a member of the Cleveland Indians, New York Mets, and Los Angeles Angels. In response to the revelations, each organization obviously condemned the actions, and they all promised an internal review of their organization.

When it came to the Angels, there was a question of what they should do with Callaway. It was obvious the Angels needed to cooperate with Major League Baseball in the investigation which was certainly forthcoming, but they would also have to make a decision on what to do with Callaway, who personally denied any wrongdoing.

Given the depth of the reporting, it is somewhat difficult to believe Callaway wasn’t fired on the spot. However, unlike Jared Porter, Callaway denied the allegations. As such, it was at least theoretically prudent to conduct an investigation before firing a man who would likely never get another job in baseball again.

Beyond that, there were some intimations the Callaway denial meant there needed to be an investigation prior to a final determination on his employment status. To wit, Bill Shakin and Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times surmised the investigation could be a way for the Angels to find a way to fire Callaway for “just cause” meaning they would not have to pay Callaway the remainder of the money owed on his contract.

There were other rumors and reports California employment law meant Callaway’s denial required an investigation before he could be terminated. There are conflicting reports about the veracity of that claim. At this point, that is besides the point.

The point is this investigation has been occurring for over a month now. Even with COVID19, there has been more than sufficient time to undertake an investigation. Really, at this point, MLB and the Angels are just dragging their feet at least as it pertains to Callaway. Simply put, it has been well past time for him to be fired.

 

Theo Epstein Should Have No Place In Baseball

One day, Cooperstown is going to come calling for Theo Epstein. After all, he was the leader for two franchises who broke curses.

Epstein was the GM for the 2004 Boston Red Sox who won a World Series for the first time in 86 years. Winning with the Red Sox apparently wasn’t challenging enough for him.

No, Epstein took over as the President of Baseball Operations for the Chicago Cubs. Whereas with the Red Sox he fortified an already great roster, he built the Cubs from the bottom up to lead them to their first World Series title in 108 years.

Now, that he’s stepped aside, everyone wants him in another important role. As jobs open up, more and more people will push for him.

Currently, he’s a consultant for Major League Baseball. There’s a push for many to name him the next commissioner. There was a push for the Mets to hire him, and there was an article from Larry Stone of the Seattle Times about how the Seattle Mariners need to hire Epstein in the wake of the Kevin Mather fallout.

There’s a certain irony in the push for anyone to hire Epstein right now, as he is emblematic of many of the problems baseball currently faces.

In terms of the Mariners, Mather “re-signed” partially as a result of his admitting to service time manipulation of Jarred Kelenic and other prospects. In some ways, Epstein is really the worst hire.

With the Cubs, Epstein dealt with the same issues with Kris Bryant. Like the Mariners intended to do with Kelenic, the team didn’t call up Bryant until they could gain another year of control.

That led to Bryant filing a grievance, which he eventually lost. He also rejected numerous attempts to sign a contract extension with the team.

In terms of the Mets, they’re still dealing with the fallout of the Mickey Callaway and Jared Porter harassment claims. Notably, the Porter harassment didn’t occur when he was with the Mets. Rather, it happened when he was with the Cubs.

As we learned, the Cubs first advised the victim to not go further with the complaint. Instead, they advised her to try to leverage her position. On multiple occasions, they followed up to ensure there would be no embarrassing law suit.

This was somewhat emblematic of how little regard the Cubs held women. In addition to Porter, the Cubs traded for Aroldis Chapman, and they tendered Addison Russell a contract.

Seeing what happened under his leadership, it’s clear he has no place in baseball right now. He’s not the guy to clean up the problems. Rather, he’s the guy who helped create, and at a minimum, led organizations who actively disregarded and cover-up problems.

Unless we get an investigation and answers to very pointed questions, Epstein should not return to any MLB front office in any role. He’s created and perpetuated problems.

There may come a time for his return to baseball, but that time has not yet arrived. It can’t until he had