New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway’s hot seat is only getting warmer after an embarrassing series loss to the lowly Miami Marlins over the weekend.
The Mets’ seemingly-annual implosion has been ahead of schedule in 2019 as the usual June or July swoon has red flags flying in May.
After starting the season 9-4, which included three series victories, the Mets went 11-19 in their next 30 with just two series wins.
Things hit a new low on Saturday afternoon when the Mets were one hit by the Marlins and starter Pablo Lopez. The same Pablo Lopez who was tagged for 10 runs in three innings against the Mets on May 10.
For a Mets team that was touted by general manager Brodie Van Wagenen to be the class of the National League East before the season, they are already in danger of losing pace with the first-place Philadelphia Phillies.
Callaway has had his faults throughout his first 200-plus games as a major-league manager with the Mets. He’s had problems properly managing his bullpen, sitting hot bats at the wrong times, and mismanaging crucial in-game situations.
Yet Callaway is not responsible for putting together a team that has once again created a false illusion of contending during the winter.
Backed by the stingy ownership of the Wilpon family, general manager Brodie Van Wagenen attempted to do his best with what was given to him.
Robinson Cano, Edwin Diaz, Wilson Ramos, and Jed Lowrie seemed like solid consolation prizes for ownership’s refusal to go after Bryce Harper or Manny Machado in free agency.
At 36 years old, Cano is on pace for his worst season ever as a pro, batting .250 while continuing to exhibit an inability to hustle. Ramos, a .272 career hitter, was 10 points worse than Cano at .240 entering Sunday.
Diaz has not been the same kind of dominant pitcher as he was last year with the Seattle Mariners and Lowrie has yet to appear in a game this season due to a slew of injuries.
The Mets’ starting rotation, usually a crown jewel of the organization, was ranked 21st in baseball with a 4.70 ERA.
Instead of going out and signing Dallas Keuchel or Gio Gonzalez for left-handed pitching depth, the penny-pinching Mets have continued to deal with the inconsistencies and injuries of Steven Matz and Jason Vargas at the bottom of their rotation.
And in the meantime, they’ve used the likes of Wilmer Font and Chris Flexen as spot starters.
Callaway can’t sign Keuchel or other starting pitching help.
He also can’t go out and sign legitimate bats in their prime to support Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, and the now-injured Michael Conforto (all home-grown products).
Yet it’s Callaway who is in danger of getting the ax as Matt Ehalt of Yahoo Sports reported on Saturday night that the Mets manager would not be canned on the team’s road trip, which ends on Sunday.
That didn’t rule out the very real possibility that he would be shown the door on Monday when the Mets start a seven-game homestand beginning with the Washingon Nationals.
Even though Callaway has struggled mightily throughout his stint as Mets manager, he’s also been carrying the burden of scapegoat within the organization.
Callaway wasn’t Van Wagenen’s hire and is one of the last links to former GM Sandy Alderson, who was blamed by the Wilpons for recent struggles after their 2015 World Series appearance.
Firing Callaway creates the illusion that the Wilpons actually care about the direction of the team.
The constant inactivity from ownership over the years when it comes to putting together the best possible team in a big market confirms that they are not in the business of actually contending for a World Series title. It continues to handcuff the rest of the front office, regardless of who the general manager is, and the organization like it has since the ’90s.
It’s the same story almost every year: Go out and get some big-ish name(s), most likely past their prime, build up ticket sales, give away a few bobbleheads and t-shirts, and hope enough people showed up to keep the cash flow at an acceptable level.
As long as the Wilpons own the Mets, it’s how things are going to go regardless of who the manager is.
And Callaway looks as though he will be a necessary sacrifice in order to deflect the blame from the root of the franchise’s problems.