Mickey Callaway was a surprising choice by the New York Mets. But from here, he was also an inspired one.
All their finalists offered something interesting to the team, but the Mets needed to fulfill four needs with this hire:
- 1. They needed someone young, with a long-range plan of things.
- 2. They needed someone who isn’t afraid of analytics.
- 3. They needed someone who knows pitching to straighten out the team’s greatest potential strength.
- 4. They needed to hire some who could lead and communicate.
It would have been a nice bonus if they could have gotten someone with experience, too, but when Brad Ausmus declined to contend for the job, as FanRag Sports first reported, the chances for that appeared limited. Of the final five candidates, only another ex-Clevelander, Manny Acta, had previous big-league managing experience, and while Acta may well earn a third major-league managing job, it always felt like he was being given the opportunity to interview as a loyal soldier from the past (he served as a Mets coach in the Omar Minaya years.)
Callaway is 43, so he becomes one of the younger managers in MLB. There’s nothing wrong with old-school, but at times it seems like there’s been a too-old-school approach to injuries, and it doesn’t hurt to have someone younger who sees the big picture and doesn’t feel a desperation to win now.
Callaway survived, even thrived, in Cleveland, where they blend analytics and scouting as well as anyone in the game.
He has been regarded as pitching guru for years now, with Ubaldo Jimenez, Scott Kazmir, Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco among many who have significantly improved or even resurrected their careers under him.
“He’s been the best pitching coach in the game for years,” one GM said. The Mets could be a contender if they can get Noah Syndergaard and Matt Harvey back to where they were, and Callaway may be the best bet to do that.
Callaway, by all accounts, seems like a confident and personable guy who isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. With the Mets, that isn’t always great. So that’s important.
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