The New York Mets will offer their managerial job to Mickey Callaway on Sunday, as first reported by Joel Sherman of MLB Network. The deal should be finalized by the end of Sunday with an introductory press conference coming on Monday.
Callaway was previously the pitching coach of the Cleveland Indians —where he had been since the 2013 season — working with a talented pitching staff that contained the likes of Cy Young winner Corey Kluber.
The 42-year-old had a brief major-league career, making 20 career starts over five seasons, but nabbing a manager that has pitching experience in the majors and has worked with such a talented staff like the Indians is a smart acquisition for the Mets.
This is a team that will once again hinge their success on a talented, yet oft-injured, pitching staff that still has not met its potential. Granted, much of that has to do with injuries that have provided lengthy trips to the disabled list for Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler in 2017.
If they can stay healthy, Callaway could spark some major improvements within the staff, which had been led by Dan Warthen since 2008 before he left the team earlier this month. In 2017, Callaway's Indians had the league's best team ERA at 3.30. By comparison, a hobbled Mets pitching staff had a team ERA of 5.01. Only the Cincinnati Reds and Detroit Tigers had worse marks.
After former manager Terry Collins stepped down following the final game of a disappointing 2017 season, ending a seven-year run at the position, the Mets quickly put together a list of candidates that included as many as seven names.
Among them were former players Robin Ventura, Joe McEwing and Alex Cora, current hitting coach Kevin Long, Brad Ausmus, Chip Hale and Manny Acta.
Ventura and Ausmus opted not to be interviewed while Alex Cora, the current Houston Astros bench coach, is set to become the new manager of the Boston Red Sox after the World Series.
McEwing and Long were taken out of consideration after their interviews as the search dwindled down to Callaway and Acta. Shortly before he reported Callaway was their man, Sherman revealed that Acta was out of the running as well.
It remains to be seen if Long will continue serving as Mets pitching coach or if he will continue pursuing managerial jobs around the league.
Callaway is walking into a difficult situation as Mets manager. A team that was tabbed to make a serious run toward a World Series entering 2017 finished with a dismal 70-92 record. Injuries were just as prevalent in the field and in the batter's box as Yoenis Cespedes battled constant hamstring issues while Michael Conforto dislocated his shoulder while swinging. The team traded away Neil Walker, Lucas Duda, Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson in August to make way for the future in shortstop Amed Rosario and first baseman Dominic Smith.
On top of that, Harvey is in a contract year after three rocky seasons on and off the field have put him at odds with the organization at times.
There are a lot of intangibles that will be out of Callaway's control, but in an enormous market like New York, he will have to be prepared for everything.