Bold moves when it comes to hiring managers isn’t normally in the Mets forte.
The last manager they hired that had no ties to the organization was Art Howe.
Before that? Jeff Torborg.
So you can see where going that route could be a disaster.
Mickey Callaway, though, is a brilliant move by Sandy Alderson and Jeff Wilpon. Instead of going to internal route with Kevin Long or the old buddy with Manny Acta, they decided to go with the best man for the job.
And Callaway fits that bill.
Coming from the Cleveland Indians, where he served at pitching coach since 2013, Callaway is credited in shepherding the tremendous starting staff which includes Corey Kluber, Trevor Bower, and Carlos Carrasco and the Mets hope he can do the same with Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz and Matt Harvey.
Although the pitchers swore by Dan Warthen, they will grow to love Callaway, who is a new school pitching guru. And because of his experience, he will probably be a better manager of the bullpen, which is something that plagued Terry Collins over the last few years.
But helping pitchers is just one part of the job. More importantly, Callaway will be tasked in bringing a fresh look to the managerial seat. After seven years of Terry Collins and his old school approach, the new manager seems to be high in the analytical side, which was a man checkbox in Alderson’s wish list for a skipper.
And after three weeks of solid moves, such as changing the training staff and buying the Syracuse Chiefs, this move is another solid outside of the box move, which should please fans.
The Mets, though, should not be done yet. Callaway may be the manager, but he will need help. Because of his lack of managerial experience, Alderson needs to surround him with a solid trustworthy coaching staff.
Bringing back Kevin Long is just a start. Although he was passed over for the job, the Mets want him back. The players love Long and he can continue the job he excelled in. Give in a raise, but keep him around.
Alderson, though, must make the right moves with the pitching coach and bench coach. With both moves, deferring to Callaway is a must. The pitching coach must have the same philosophy as Callaway, since having different opinions will cause friction. Because the Mets are hiring him to due to his experience with the Indians’ staff, his views will trump all. Callaway will have to have a say in the selection.
And in fact, that philosophy needs to go through the minors as well, so there may need to be a rethinking there too.
More importantly is a bench coach. Callaway will be a very inexperienced manager, so he will need someone to compliment him in the dugout. The reason why Bob Geren worked well with Collins is that they complimented each other. Collins worked well with the old school gut moves, while Geren was an expert with analytics. After Geren went to Los Angeles, something was missing with Dick Scott in that role.
Callaway will need an experienced major league manager as his bench coach to advise the rookie skipper on right and wrong moves. Because of his inexperience, mistakes will be made. A seasoned advisor is a must. Again, this needs to be Callaway’s call, since he will need to trust his bench coach’s guidance.
So far, so good. The Mets made the right decision here by going with an outsider for manager. Callaway looks like the right man for the job in Flushing.
But now, Alderson needs to finish the job and surround his new skipper with the right people.