The New York Mets announced on Thursday afternoon that they have fired manager Mickey Callaway after two seasons.
General manager Brodie Van Wagenen, in a statement, said the move was int he best interest of our franchise at this time.”
“We want to thank Mickey for his consistent work ethic and dedication,” Van Wagenen continued.
Callaway finished his two-year stint as Mets manager with a 161-163 record, missing the playoffs in both seasons.
Formerly working as the Cleveland Indians pitching coach, Callaway was brought on to lead a promising Mets pitching staff to meet the high expectations placed upon them earlier this decade.
While Jacob deGrom is in line to win his second straight NL Cy Young Award, plenty was left to be desired by Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz. Meanwhile, the organization is in danger of losing the improving Zack Wheeler to free agency this winter.
But it was Callaway’s managing tactics away from the starting rotation that doomed him in Queens.
He had issues handling his bullpen, staying loyal to a fault to closer Edwin Diaz — who was acquired by Van Wagenen over the winter in his first blockbuster deal as Mets GM.
Diaz had one of the worst seasons by a reliever in MLB history, allowing 15 home runs in just 58 innings of work. Still, he was given the ball in vital late-game situations when Seth Lugo or Justin Wilson were more viable options.
He alone blew seven saves in 2019, a huge number when considering the Mets finished just three games out of the final National League Wild Card spot.
Callaway also had issues fielding his best-possible lineup, which put his team behind the proverbial eight-ball in times when every win counted.
Robinson Cano and Todd Frazier — both who struggled mightily for a majority of the 2019 season — were constantly given starts over the likes of budding young bats like JD Davis, Dominic Smith, and Jeff McNeil.
Both Davis and McNeil batted over .300 while first baseman Pete Alonso slugged an MLB-rookie-record 53 home runs. Put that together with deGrom’s electric season in which he posted a 2.43 ERA along with 250-plus strikeouts for a second-straight season and that should be enough for a playoff team.
But a miserable start to the 2019 season in which the Mets were 40-51 at the All-Star break provided Callaway with a deficit too big to dig out of despite a strong 46-25 finish.
Now the Mets will be entering a managerial search that has some strong candidates on the open market.
Joe Maddon parted ways with the Chicago Cubs after five seasons and a 108-year-drought-breaking World Series title in 2015. He also boasts an AL pennant with a small-market Tampa Bay Rays team in 2008.
Former Yankees manager Joe Girardi is also an early candidate to keep an eye on. The 2009 World Series champion has over a decade of experience managing in New York and has expressed interest in a return to a major-league dugout in 2020.