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Mickey Callaway Fired as Mets Manager; Had 163-161 Record in 2 Seasons

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistOctober 3, 2019

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 24: Manager Mickey Callaway #36 of the New York Mets looks on prior to the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on June 24, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The New York Mets announced they fired manager Mickey Callaway on Thursday after two years in charge.

"We want to thank Mickey for his consistent work ethic and dedication over the last two seasons, and I'm certain these characteristics will serve him well in his next opportunity," Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said. "A decision like this is never easy, however, we believe it is in the best interest of the franchise at this time."

Van Wagenen added, "the 'win now and in the future' mantra is important to us."

The Mets have created an "expansive list" of candidates to replace Callaway and will reach out to them soon, Van Wagenen told reporters.

According to USA Today's Bob Nightengale, the Mets will be looking for an experienced replacement, with Joe Giardi "high on the list," as well as recently fired Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon.

Callaway's ouster comes after the Mets posted an 86-76 record in 2019. New York finished 11 games back of the first-place Atlanta Braves in the National League East and three games off the final wild-card spot.

There's no question the team has fallen short of expectations after a 77-win season in 2018. The team added Robinson Cano, Wilson Ramos, Jed Lowrie and Edwin Diaz in the offseason. Even though many of those moves haven't worked out as planned, they showed how the front office and ownership were setting their sights on a postseason run.

Callaway didn't help himself when he and Mets starting pitcher Jason Vargas got into a verbal altercation with Newsday's Tim Healey in the clubhouse. Some thought that might have been a fireable offense, but he escaped with only a fine.

As much as Callaway might have gotten wrong this year, the team's struggles don't fall squarely on his shoulders.

Lowrie has yet to play a game for the Mets as a result of separate knee and hamstring injuries. And most of the team's other additions failed to meet their usual standards, which was a key reason New York wasn't able to keep pace in the deep NL East.

Then there's the bullpen Diaz was supposed to solidify.

Mike Petriello @mike_petriello

I cannot stop thinking about this: The highest 'pen ERA in NYM history from 1962-2016 was the legendary '62 club. For over 40 years, they couldn't top it. They've broken the record *every year since.* https://t.co/couI0tnwR4 5.58 -- 2019 4.96 -- 2018 4.82 -- 2017 4.76 -- 1962

The New York Post's Joel Sherman argued Callaway was always going to be the one blamed in the event the Mets underperformed, describing him as "a human shield for those most responsible."

Andy Martino @martinonyc

Nothing happening in Miami tonight is Mickey Callaway’s fault, but the way these things go, it’s not hard to imagine his job status being in real question soon. That’s just the way it works sometimes

It didn't help that general manager Van Wagenen arrived after Callaway was already brought aboard. Van Wagenen doesn't have to worry as much about how this affects his tenure since the manager was a holdover from the previous front-office regime.

Perhaps having a different voice in the clubhouse will have a galvanizing effect for the Mets.

But Callaway's replacement can't wave a magic wand and vastly improve an offense that already ranked 11th in weighted on-base average (.325) and seventh in weighted runs created plus (104), per FanGraphs. And when the lineup does deliver, the bullpen is liable to squander the lead anyway.

By letting Callaway go, the Mets can say they're trying something—anything—to find future success. Absent improvements to the roster, this is largely window dressing to mask what remain larger problems.

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