Mancuso: Longshot Mickey Left Chip Hale And Other Options Behind

We will give Mickey Callaway the best of luck with that task of guiding the Mets and putting them back into contention.  He deserves that pat on the back and obviously made that immediate impression that was brought to the table as the long shot to succeed Terry Collins.

And there were other viable candidates that brought a managerial resume to the table, but the Mets are that pitching conscious organization. Callaway with that background was an obvious and immediate choice when analyzing what went wrong with a Mets pitching core that saw everything go wrong in 2016.

Numbers, metrics, of course that is what GM Sandy Alderson is about. To guide and rebuild this Mets sinking ship means being on the same page with the GM. Callaway will go with the plan.

But, Chip Hale at one time was considered to be ahead of the line, that is until Callaway got in the door and gave Sandy Alderson what he wanted.  So Chip Hale, who had knowledge of the Mets organization as the third base coach under Collins, and with that brief managerial tenure in Arizona, was never under consideration.

Instead, Hale quickly turned to his secured option and remains employed with the Oakland Athletics as an infield and third base coach under manager Bob Melvin who will enter 2018 in the final year of a seven-year contract.

Last week, the Athletics confirmed Hale would return in the same capacity and a reliable source said there was an understanding that Hale would be next in line to succeed Melvin. Assuming Melvin does not get a renewal, logic says that Chip Hale will be the successor.

But in all fairness to Hale, who always expressed an interest in returning to New York, there was no logic to at least granting him an opportunity to speak with the GM and Mets ownership.  This was a matter of decision making and Sandy Alderson throwing out a theory that a pitching coach has no business handling the daily responsibilities and personalities in a clubhouse.

Though that success of managing personalities and game making decisions did not last long for Chip Hale in Arizona, a source said that was not an issue with the Mets going to an immediate direction in their hiring of Mickey Callaway.

As of last week, Hale was anxious to meet with Alderson and those in the Mets hierarchy. The pitch was also going with the plan and having familiarity with the organization and immediate desire to correct the ship.  

And if anyone knew the philosophy and guidelines of Mets thinking, well it was Chip Hale.  He told this columnist numerous times, “I love it here and know it’s all about winning.” And recently, Hale, when contacted, was anxious to present his views to Sandy Alderson though did not reveal his pitch as to how to right the ship at Citi Field.

Alderson had that mutual respect for Chip Hale, though it is well known a different philosophy with the GM will not get your foot in the door. Obvious, Mickey Callaway had the immediate and correct philosophy and the Mets wanted to get this locked up before the World Series to get the ball rolling and correct the ship.

But Chip Hale, as much as he looked at this opportunity was bypassed and he looked forward to making his pitch. The once prominent choice lost out to a pitching coach who had that resume of success in the development of Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, and Carlos Carrasco with manager Terry Francona in Cleveland.

Pitching is the game, a well known fact. Mickey Callaway had that advantage coming to the table as the long shot. Chip Hale with some of the other viable names in the field had the managerial experience and that describes how the game of baseball has changed.

Would Chip Hale have made a difference in this process of getting the Mets back to respectability? Well now, we will never know. But we do know he will have an opportunity to manage again and soon.

And one other thing here and that is never rule out that return to New York for Chip Hale.

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About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and BoxingInsider.com, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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