Mets manager Mickey Callaway has been on a warm seat for a good bit of his tenure. The temperature has gone up and down at various points, but has never fully cooled — even as GM Brodie Van Wagenen offered near-term support for the skipper. After a disappointing season featuring good-but-not-great results following significant roster investments, should the team move on?
When we asked back in June whether the Mets should dump Callaway in the middle of the season, two-thirds of respondents were in favor. The club sank further from that point but then bounced back and will likely finish the season with a winning record. But the postseason won’t happen barring a total miracle. (Current odds, per Fangraphs: 0.3%.)
It’s awfully difficult to blame Callaway entirely for the way things have gone. Injuries and lack of roster depth in key areas have hurt. Not all of the baseball operations decisions have worked out as hoped. The bullpen has been a mess beyond Callaway’s control, even if his management of it hasn’t always been optimal. He has at least held things together through an undeniably difficult stretch. And he’s already under contract for 2020 with an option for another season.
On the other hand, Callaway has now been at the helm for a pair of seasons without a postseason appearance to show for it. He wasn’t hired by Van Wagenen, for what that’s worth. There’s year-to-year improvement in terms of wins and losses, but it’s also fair to wonder whether the overall mix is one that will allow the Mets to break through in a tough division. Roster maximization is always the key, but there’s an argument that a makeover in the dugout leadership would be a sensible accompaniment for some other offseason changes — if only to instill a sense of urgency. There are some venerable former managers out there in search of new gigs, with more potentially soon to join them.
In the unlikely event that the Mets somehow sneak into a Wild Card spot, it seems fair to presume that Callaway will be safe. But if the season ends in the manner it’s likely to — nice try, but falling short — what ought the organization do? (Poll link for app users.)