Mickey Callaway, who was the Cleveland Indians’ pitching coach for the past five seasons, has been hired as the manager of the New York Mets. The following are reactions to the news from myself and several of my colleagues at MMO, plus a few from those who knew Mickey with the Indians.
Joe D. – I know that some of you may question my mental state for saying this, but this decision to hire Mickey Callaway has really psyched me up and I can’t wait for spring training to get here already. I absolutely love this move on so many levels. We’re not only bringing in a confident leader who is well respected by players and management alike, but to have his immeasurable experience as a pitching coach to help turn our starting rotation around is an added bonus. After so many years with Terry Collins at the helm, this team is ready for a new voice that will resonate, and I believe Callaway will rise to the occasion in that regard. This was a great first move to what I hope will be a productive and exciting offseason for the Mets. Way to go, Sandy.
John Jackson – Mickey Callaway was a good choice for the Mets’ vacant managing position. The Mets needed a big change and picking someone from outside the organization was the way to go. That is why passing on Kevin Long was the right decision. That does not mean Kevin Long isn’t valuable at all to the franchise. However, his value comes from his current position; though that is even something which is debated among Mets fans. It was time for someone from outside the organization to take the helm. Callaway is well-respected among his players and viewed as someone who is open to ideas rather than forceful and stubborn. That’s a good way to win the players over and adjust to a team that has seen many different players on the active roster due to a multitude of injuries in recent years.
Mathew Brownstein – The hiring of Mickey Callaway as the next Mets manager is a bold, yet, smart move by Sandy Alderson and the front office. While his name doesn’t bring the same cache that an Alex Cora did for many fans, Callaway does bring a fresh voice and success from his last five years with the Cleveland Indians. Since his first season at the helm as pitching coach for Cleveland in 2013, the Indians pitchers have ranked 4th in team ERA (3.65), 3rd in FIP (3.60), 2nd in K-BB% (16.4), and 4th in WHIP (1.24). For a Mets team built on young pitching, these numbers should give hope to a fan base looking to see major turnarounds from most of their pitchers in 2018. The fact that Callaway spent the past five seasons under one of the game’s best managers in Terry Francona, and, the high praise Tito heaped upon Callaway at the end of the year should give Met fans some hope for the 21st manager in team history.
Josh Finkelstein – Mickey Callaway was my second choice behind Cora so once it became clear we would not get him he became my top choice. I love the move on the Mets part. It seems like he is a players coach and he can really help the pitching staff. I am really curious to see who he is able to bring over from Cleveland (hopefully Sandy Alomar Jr.) and I also hope we are able to keep Kevin Long. The Mets wanted to make a change at the helm and they brought in a guy that certainly is going to have a different style so I am all for this move.
John Sheridan – As I noted in the MMO piece, this was a high risk – high reward hiring. Considering this team is built on pitching, pitching that was mostly injured and under-performing, it’s an inspired choice. With that said, the work here is not done. With this being a manager with no managerial experience, he will need a strong coaching staff. To that end, the Mets’ next call should be to a respected former manager to serve as not only the bench coach, but also a mentor. Ideally, the Mets next call should be to Dusty Baker.
Rob Piersall – Earlier this offseason, Callaway’s name was thrown around as a potential candidate for not just the Mets, but just about every team searching for a new skipper. Myself and the other MMO editors included him in our list of candidates to replace Terry Collins, but I didn’t think the Mets would actually snap him up. It seemed as though Kevin Long was going to be the guy once the Red Sox canned John Farrell. I was OK with it, but something still seemed missing. When it was announced Sunday Callaway would be at the helm for the Amazin’s in 2018, I was ecstatic. The antithesis of Terry Collins, I think bringing in a 42-year-old manager who has had a plethora of success with the Indians pitching staff and working closely with Terry Francona might work wonders here in New York. Yes, it’s a crap shoot, but it’s a breath of fresh air to see the Mets get out of their comfort zone and bring in someone like Callaway instead of a Terry Collins clone.
Logan Barer – My first reaction to the Mets hiring Callaway is the same as most other’s I’ve seen — Good! Once I think about it though, one big reservation arises. I have been a pitcher my whole life, including four years of varsity ball at Ithaca College (very good DIII). The times I struggled most were when I had two different pitching coaches working with me, contradicting each other. Sometimes not even contradicting per se, just saying slightly different things. With Callaway as manager in addition to another pitching coach, I’m worried that some of the Mets pitchers could have a different voice in each ear. This was the same reservation I had with Kevin Long but with hitters. If Callaway and his pitching coach can separate church and state, we won’t have a problem. But considering Callaway has been a pitching coach for so long, it will be interesting to see how much he talks mechanics with his new pitching staff.
Dilip Sridhar – I love this Callaway hiring for many reasons. First off, Callaway is a young guy and he will not require the Mets to look for another manager any time soon unless he performs poorly. Next up, he is well versed in analytics and knows how to structure the lineup and bullpen. Third, he is a former player so he knows the inner workings of a clubhouse and will keep folks happy. Fourth, he’s part of the Terry Francona school of managing. Francona is a huge players manager, a huge believer in analytics, and huge into deploying a bullpen in unique ways. Fifth, he’s a pitching coach by trade and will get to work with the starting pitcher with the arguably the best stuff in baseball. He might also be the one to reach Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, and Steven Matz. Under Callaway (2013-2017), the Indians led baseball in strikeouts and fewest pitches-per-inning. There are so many things to like about this move. With the hiring of Tony DeFrancesco, the purchase of the Syracuse Chiefs, and now the hiring of Callaway, this off-season is off to a great start.
Andrew Miller, RP – Mickey is a really good communicator with everybody, whether it’s a Cy Young guy or a guy that has been up and down. I think his personality will work as a manager like it did as a pitching coach. He is always prepared. The stuff the Indians do for the playoffs in advance is very impressive. He will be missed in Cleveland and has a bright future as a manager. He will be good.
Joba Chamberlain, Former RP – Mickey’s greatest attribute is that he relates to players well. He isn’t over-analytical. He works with what you have got and tries to make you better. More times than not he takes what you have got and makes it better. Obviously he has got to understand that market is going to be different than where he has been. That will be something he learns.
Terry Francona, Manager – The first thing that I noticed when the season started our first year was his level of confidence. it seemed to me that it exceeded his experience. Then as you watch him and you’re with him every day, you see that that confidence allowed him to have other voices, and to get input from other people, and sift through that and take what he wanted. But my goodness, he had such an impact on the pitching staff. He’s so good. And I would be surprised if that doesn’t lead to him managing if he wants to because he’s really that good.
Note: The Mets have announced a press conference at Citi Field at 4 p.m. to introduce Mickey Callaway as the teams new manager.