Firing Mickey Callaway could start an avalanche

Note: The below post was written a few days ago before the Mets *ahem* stepped it up and took two straight games at home against an awful team.

Mickey Callaway screwed up yet again, but it’s not time to fire him. His premature pulling of Noah Syndergaard on Tuesday night led to another bullpen avalanche that cost us the game. It’s not the first time his fumbling decision making cost us a game.

While Callaway has consistently mishandled the bullpen, it’s not his fault that Jeurys Familia and Robert Gsellman have been terrible or that Justin Wilson, Luis Avilan, and Drew Smith are on the IL. It’s also not his fault that our pitchers have no comfort level with Wilson Ramos. It’s not his fault we brought in the wrong catcher. Nor is it his fault that Yoenis Cespedes fell in a hole or that we spent $20 million on a veteran infielder we didn’t need instead of adding another arm.

Callaway is not the right manager for this team, but would firing him now send the right message after the front office gave him a vote of confidence just a few weeks ago?

Brodie Van Wagenen already had to admit a mistake and flush $3 million plus down the toilet when he released Travis d’Arnaud and then another mistake when he released Keon Broxton for whom he had traded prospects to obtain. If he then fires Callaway, that’s effectively admitting to three mistakes in the first half of his first season that’s starting to increasingly look like it’s not going as planned.

Van Wagenen made a lot of boastful remarks about the team’s chances in spring training, setting very high expectations for ownership, the fan base and the media. Callaway might not be “his guy,” but the minute Van Wagenen fires him, the GM becomes the one under the microscope. How long is his leash? Ownership put a lot of faith in the agent-turned-GM. Firing him would mean they would be owning up to a mistake, not to mention eating the remainder of his salary too. Are the Wilpons ready for that avalanche?

Callaway is not likely to be back next season and might not even survive this one, but the time to make a change in the dugout is not now. Bench coach Jim Riggleman is not likely to ignite this team as an interim manager. And the idea of bringing in Joe Girardi, Buck Showalter, or Dusty Baker mid-season is, at best, unconventional.

By the All-Star break, we’ll have a better idea of where this team stands. Did we survive June without dropping 10 games under .500? Did the roster return to relative health with some reinforcements off the injured list? Did the Phillies or another NL East team separate from the pack? Have the pitchers grown more comfortable with Ramos and hit their stride? Between now and the July 9 All-Star Game, there are four weeks and 27 games to be played. If we can right the ship in that time, then we play the hand we’re dealt and maybe even bring in a reliever at the trade deadline. If things go south, players may not be the only ones sent packing.

14 comments for “Firing Mickey Callaway could start an avalanche

  1. June 7, 2019 at 6:34 am

    This team is going nowhere. At best it’s a .500 team. At worst? Endless opportunities lie ahead. The team solely relies on HR’s for offense. Where is the spark going to come from? They have 2 young first baseman. A second baseman who has to play the outfield (JMN), An aging third baseman, a decimated injury plagued OF. Bull pen? Inconsistent and poorly mismanaged. How does a new manager fix these problems? He doesn’t. Game mismanagement is on Callaway. The make up of this team is on BVW. Dead money on payroll (Cespedes, Lowrie).Dead money for the foreseeable future (Cano) a 2020 payroll that sits at 127 million for next season and you might as well turn the page to 2021. Signing Lowire was a mistake Just as keeping TDA which I complained about was as well.The more efficient better teams have their stars locked up in their prime years. The Mets…

  2. June 7, 2019 at 7:18 am

    Yep, lots of mistakes by BVW…Lowrie, (didn’t need), Cano (old and without PEDs), atrocious BP pieces not helping – Wilson, Famila, Santiago, etc, etc, TDA and Broxton wasted $, only thing he has done right is bring up Alonso and keep Vargas when the media and fans wanted Vargas bye-bye. Vargas has 7 quality starts in a row, so I, and fans too need to pipe down. Ok, so now what ? A .500 team is not a “come get us” team !! Keuchel is now gone to the Braves, Kimbrel gone to the Cubs. Like to see what BVW has up his sleeve at the trade deadline. There is no Cespedes walking through the clubhouse to save them in August either. Meanwhile it would help if Callaway, good guy overall, just probably a bit overwhelmed, would stop fudging with what is the Mets best asset – Starting Pitching- to get to what is the Mets worst asset – Bullpen.
    That is only basic logic. Come on Mickey, get some.
    It will mean your job if you don’t !

  3. June 7, 2019 at 7:28 am

    I have been a Jim Riggleman fan since he was Washington Nationals manager and hope he gets a shot with the Mets. Unfortunately, he is in his late 60s now, and few GMs will hire a manager that old unless he has won a World Series or two.

  4. Metsense
    June 7, 2019 at 8:30 am

    I am not a Callaway fan because I feel he is to inexperienced, doesn’t think fast enough on his feet and doesn’t understand the National League game. I think firing him now would be disruptive to the team. The Mets have 13 games against the Phillies and Braves before the All-Star Game. It will be a daunting task to win 8 or 9 games but they have to in order be considered as a contender. They also have to play at least 500 against the likes of the Cardinals, the Cubs, the Yankees and the Rockies. By the All-Star break we will know if they are contenders or sellers. If there are sellers then replace Callaway with interim Riggleman and get a new manager this winter.
    Callaway can turn this around but he has to stop batting Cano 3rd and stop treating him like a superstar. He has bench players that are producing more then Cano . He must not forget that Smith, Frazier and Hechavarria have played well and contributed. Recently, the starting pitching has turned around and he needs to utilize them for distance and not rely on the bullpen too soon in the game. Hopefully Nimmo will return soon and remove the offensive hole in center field.
    There is a light in the tunnel but I hope it isn’t freight train! As lyrics of the Grateful Dead song goes” like a steam locomotive, rolling down the track he’s gone gone gone and nothing’s going bring him back, he’s gone.”

  5. Eraff
    June 7, 2019 at 9:14 am

    It’s easy to consider what trading out of the race can look like… 1-2 Starters, several Bullpen Guys, and Todd and Lowrie (yes…if he’s back and healthy), and Ramos could be tradeable pieces.

    It’s much more difficult (now) to envision a Trading-In move… the young “active roster parts” need to be kept… along with a preciously thin Minor League Stash. I want them to keep Nimmo and Conforto and Davis, etc. Dom is about the Only young roster piece that might have value along with being “Sacrifice-able”.

    The Trade-In Scenario is well established throughout baseball…. it’s part of how you build your February Roster. I believe that’s been the biggest fail of all— lack of anticipattion for the Trade Deadline Trade-in.

    • BVac
      June 7, 2019 at 9:29 am

      That is a great point since all too often we look at what we are giving away. While there can be some addition by subtraction, what you are getting in return is what’s valuable. Throwing away sunk costs is great but it is all about who you want in return and how you can get it. I believe this was discussed in Moneyball.

    • June 7, 2019 at 9:36 am

      Just because you believe that minor leaguers should be kept doesn’t mean that’s what BVW thinks. He’s already parted ways with many interesting minor league pieces and it’s not hard to imagine him dealing Mauricio or Kay or Vientos if he thinks it will bring them a player to make the playoffs this year.

      • Peter Hyatt
        June 7, 2019 at 11:17 am

        Agreed.

        Self absorption struggles to think beyond instant gratification or rehabbing his reputation.

        BVW is not long term thinking.

  6. Bugsy
    June 7, 2019 at 10:46 am

    You’ve got a manager who is getting on the job training,
    A GM who is getting on the job training,
    And meddling owners who haven’t learned a thing in decades .
    What could possibly go wrong?

    • Chris F
      June 7, 2019 at 1:27 pm

      +1

  7. Eraff
    June 7, 2019 at 10:49 am

    Correct…we don’t yet know the Philosophy, or the Valuation of specific “pieces”. If Lowrie and Cano come back and the If Mets Starting Pitching and If Bullpen Recovers…and If they roll off 12 of 16……. enough said that there’s not even a target that would fix this squad at it’s present state. With most of the “Ifs” met, I could live with Trading In

  8. Peter Hyatt
    June 7, 2019 at 11:11 am

    Well written article.

    I think Callaway was in over his head (we saw that last year) and was given a team built around 36 yo post PED season.

    Callaway’s handling revealed weakness; either of character or position (or both?) and Callaway attempted to rehabilitate a leader reputation by choosing the quiet & religious DeGrom.

    Big mistake.

    The “nobody gets their own catcher” got even worse when he pulled DeGrom.

    DeGrom was not silent.

    The handling of Cano’s Refusal to hustle was embarrassing. For all the talk of “team” and unity, Cano humiliated Callaway in both action and word.

    I believe the BVW era is Madoff Part Two: The Kelenic

  9. Chris F
    June 7, 2019 at 1:36 pm

    Although we often dont agree, I certainly think you are right here. There is no chance Callaway is just going to be disappeared without a trace. I see the ASB as the first opportunity to reset and let Riggleman finish out the season, but there is no chance a new long-term skipper is coming in mid season. As I noted the other day, none of the potential long-term guys would ever interview or even be considered while Mickey is still actively in the dugout.

    As the season plays out, we can only hope BVW does not “double down” on the wildly mistaken belief this team is a playoff team by moving young talent for old players with bloated contracts. I can see trading Wheeler, Syndergaard, JD Davis, and Smith, but I dont envision getting much for other people, and there is zero reason to move McNeil, Conforto, Rosario, Alonso etc.

    • Peter Hyatt
      June 7, 2019 at 5:52 pm

      Scary to think that his ego may do something foolish to prove “come get me.”

      The Cespedes news conference —swarmy. Listening to BVW, I get why Wilpons likes him.

      Tonight, Jake does not get his “personal” catcher.

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