The Mets hired manager Mickey Callaway in October 2017 with the hope that he’d immediately help the franchise rebound from an awful final season under predecessor Terry Collins. Nearly a season and a half later, the Mets are still waiting for Callaway’s tenure to yield positive results, and it seems they’re running out of patience with the former Indians pitching coach. Callaway will manage the Mets on Sunday, but the ax could fall on the 44-year-old after that, per reports from Joel Sherman of the New York Post, fellow Post scribe Mike Puma, and Matt Ehalt of Yahoo Sports.
Callaway’s seat looks particularly hot in the wake of yet another listless Mets performance Saturday, when they mustered just one hit in a 2-0 loss to the lowly Marlins. They’re guaranteed a series loss in Miami, having dropped the opener Friday, and now own a 20-24 record on the season and a 97-109 mark since hiring Callaway. Moreover, the Mets have fallen in four of seven games to a pair of struggling teams (the Nationals and Marlins) since COO Jeff Wilpon met with Callaway and general manager Brodie Van Wagenen on May 10. At that point, Wilpon reportedly let his two underlings know that the Mets’ performance wasn’t acceptable.
If Wilpon was fed up eight days ago, then he may be livid now, which could hasten a decision on Callaway. In the event Callaway does go, bench coach Jim Riggleman – an experienced manager who was the Reds’ interim skipper for most of 2018 – as well as quality control coach Luis Rojas could be names to watch, Puma relays. On the other hand, though, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal says (video link) the Mets might go outside for their next manager, listing Joe Girardi, Buck Showalter and Dusty Baker as out-of-work dugout chiefs with terrific resumes. Rosenthal notes it’s up in their whether the Mets would be willing to pay any of those guys in addition to Callaway, though Puma points out they’d be eating a relatively small sum in firing him. With an annual salary of $850K, Callaway is among the majors’ lowest-paid managers.
So far, the beleaguered Wilpons have gotten the type of basement-level results commensurate with Callaway’s salary, though that’s not to suggest he’s the lone source of blame for this mess. Van Wagenen’s aggressive offseason maneuverings haven’t really panned out to this point, and a neglect of pitching depth has helped doom the club. Second baseman Robinson Cano, relievers Jeurys Familia and Justin Wilson, and catcher Wilson Ramos – all expensive additions – have each struggled. Meanwhile, $20MM infield signing Jed Lowrie hasn’t been healthy enough to debut, and center fielder Keon Broxton is now in DFA limbo after bombing over 53 plate appearances.
While other winter pickups Edwin Diaz and J.D. Davis have done their part, neither their quality performances nor the presences of Michael Conforto, Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, Brandon Nimmo, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, Seth Lugo or Robert Gsellman – all inherited by Van Wagenen – have been enough to pull the Mets from the doldrums. Now, with the team in dire need of a quick turnaround, Van Wagenen’s solution may be to throw Callaway overboard. Van Wagenen did not hire Callaway, whom previous GM Sandy Alderson put in place, which may make it easier for BVW to go in another direction.