If you’re still not excited by the addition of manager Mickey Callaway, maybe a closer look at the positive impact he’s made already will give you some incentive. The new Mets skipper has shed some light on just how antiquated the Mets’ training protocols and methods have been for the better part of a decade.
After recently explaining all the modern injury prevention techniques, advanced training protocols, and extensive player bio-data collection he utilized with great results as the pitching coach of the Cleveland Indians, Callaway was asked if the Mets were employing any of the same injury-prevention methods.
“No, I don’t think they had been,” he said. “They’ve been doing some similar things, keeping track of how guys feel, but we’re going to try and step it up a notch. We talked about some of that stuff in my interview — how to keep these guys healthy. But it’s not just getting them healthy. It’s a daily process for keeping them healthy.”
One team source told John Harper of the Daily News, that former pitching coach Rick Peterson believed strongly in the study of biomechanics and was pushing some of these same protocols Mickey talked about 10 years ago.
But after the Mets fired Peterson, “there was a backlash to all of that stuff because people got tired of hearing it,” the person said, “and then they brought in Dan Warthen, who didn’t believe in a lot of that stuff. Now it’s come full circle.”
The Mets are now ready to catch up with all these modern methods after years of being decimated by injuries, some of which could have been avoided with something as simple as keeping their players well hydrated during games.
In addition to looking for a replacement for longtime trainer Ray Ramirez, they will add a “High Performance Director” who will oversee and interpret both medical and strength-and-conditioning information. Certainly a step that will take the Mets out of the dark ages and into a better future and join the ranks of most MLB teams.
Callaway is focused on getting Mets pitchers, many of whom were handled so delicately, to forget everything they were told about conditioning and opening their minds to some new techniques that will them avoid injury and pitch deeper into games.
“One of the things that we realized is that backing off is no way to condition a pitcher to stay healthy,” Callaway said. “You have to get after it. You have to push yourself. You can’t go run a marathon without pushing yourself to condition yourself the right way. So we’re going to push guys to the limit to make sure that they can endure everything they’re going to have to go through in a major league season.’’
New pitching coach Dave Eiland is fully on board with all of the new changes, many of which he was already using as pitching coach with the Yankees and Royals. In fact, him and Callaway have already crafted an offseason throwing program that has been sent to all of the pitchers on the Mets’ 40-man roster. “And that’s only the beginning,” Eiland said in a conference call last week.
“It’s not like they get an email with it on there and they’re on their own until February. Once this program starts in mid-December, I’m going to be talking to each one of them at least once a week, if not more.”
I’m excited because of how excited these two are. They take over a pitching staff that ranked second to last in the NL with a 5.01 ERA, but both Dave and Mickey see the potential for a significant turnaround based on all the young talent the team has. They expect a return to prominence for Mets pitching next season and are aware of what a game-changer that could be.
“I know the demands of New York,” Eiland said. “I know the expectations. I know the energy, the passion, and I’m looking forward to getting right back in the middle of that. I want to be held accountable for how this staff pitches. I want those responsibilities. I want those demands. I know how good it is to win there. That’s the driving force.”
Of course Mets Twitter went insane when it came out that the front office may not add that mid-rotation starter they talked about early in the offseason. “They’re so fucking cheap,” one Mets fan said. You know not every freaking thing has to be about money. Perhaps the front office is buying into what Callaway and Eiland are saying. Maybe, just maybe these two can finally make things click for Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler and Robert Gsellman. Maybe, just maybe, they can keep Noah Syndergaard and Matt Harvey healthy and effective for the entire season. Come on people… Let’s give these guys a shot.
It appears that the Mets are dead serious about upgrading at second base. In addition to already inquiring on Dee Gordon and Jason Kipnis, they could also look at Ian Kinsler and maybe even bring Neil Walker back if the price is right. The good news is that there seems to be a glut of second basemen out there, which should make whatever the Mets decide less costly either in dollars or prospects.
More than any signing the Mets make this offseason, the most important and vital thing for this team to compete next season is getting 150 games each from Yoenis Cespedes and Michael Conforto. Each of them are capable of 6.0 WAR seasons, and I believe both are motivated and laser focused to get healthy this offseason and deliver big seasons in 2018.
Have a great day!