Mancuso: Mets and Yankees Are Back To Work With Expectations

There is a different look without Joe Girardi and Terry Collins guiding the Yankees and Mets from the dugout. Spring training is more interesting the next six weeks on two sides of Florida and it’s back to business for the new managers, coaches, and players with decision making as always.

And with that there are some small gaps to fill before March 29th for the Yankees with their season opener at Toronto and questions for the Mets and their opening game at Citi Field against the St. Louis Cardinals.

The prevailing questions are about the rookie managers. Aaron Boone from the broadcast booth to the responsibility of guiding a Yankees team with major expectations, and Mickey Callaway bringing his knowledge of pitching to a Mets rotation that will attempt to complete a long season and staying healthy as a unit.

These are expectations and those with years of knowledge in the game always view this time of year as that important moment on the baseball calendar. Some will make the cut, others will go elsewhere, and this other scenario of high profiled players out of work looking for jobs with this new and complicated question of free agency that has raised more questions when it comes to the business side of baseball.

So look at it this way for Boone, Callaway, and the other managers as a learning process because the rosters will change in a matter of weeks with the signing of more than one high or lower tier free agent that remains on the table.

And with that said it can be expected Yankees GM Brian Cashman is still looking for another starter. The  same can be said for the Mets and GM Sandy Alderson because during the stretch of a 162 game season there is always that need for more pitching.

“Expect to go out there and be great,” said Boone Tuesday in his first of many meetings this season with the media at the Yankees complex in Tampa.  Those are the expectations of these Yankees with Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez. and a healthy Greg Bird, a new “Murderers Row” in the Bronx that is expected to hit a record number of home runs, get on base and also get their share of strikeouts.

Boone is the analytical manager that Cashman fell in love with. He will go with the plan and is expected to win with that new word “analytics” now a part of the game and of course it is. See, if Joe Girardi viewed things different, Aaron Boone is still analyzing games from the broadcast booth instead of going by the book from the dugout.

But Boone did say, “ I don’t expect to be a guy who’s micromanaging.” Interesting to see where that comment goes or is this the Aaron Boone we expect to see?

Mickey Callaway, at 42 years of age brings a different approach than his predecessor  Terry Collins. What to look for, as with Boone, is that open door policy and that player-manager approach. He will be brief and to the point and honesty is the best policy with this pitching staff that makes or breaks the Mets.

He said Tuesday, “It is very evident that we are prepared in every way to go out there and do something special. If we do not do things it’s going to be on me. The front office has gotten us the players.”  Collins always said he had the players, so nothing new there and the manager looks as good as the players..

But those pieces have to stay healthy. Callaway has a plan for his pitchers to attack hitters which became a success in Cleveland as the pitching coach under Terry Francona. But Matt Harvey and Steven Matz have a lot to prove as does Zack Wheeler and their ability to be a part of that unit.  Or Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman?

Noah Syndergaard missed most of last season with a lat injury and is back to strength and Jacob deGrom in that category of what Callaway described as “I’ve been around some pretty good arms and this is the best group of arms and stuff I have ever seen.”

But those arms need to stay healthy as Callaway will monitor the closing role. It’s not a secret that Jeurys Familia is the closer but AJ Ramos and newcomer Anthony Swarzak will be in that mix.  

Jay Bruce who spent two months with Callaway last season in Cleveland says the manager has communication with players. Bruce returns with a three-year $39 million dollar contract and of course a healthy Yoenis Cespedes and his role in the lineup with the anticipated return of Michael Conforto.

Did the Mets get younger in the infield with an average age from that unit 30-or older? Perhaps a new training and conditioning staff will keep them healthy and Callaway will determine if 36-year old Adrian Gonzalez gets the role at first over the younger and much to improve in Dominic Smith.

Yes, some decision making as both teams get back to work. Six weeks should be more than enough time to get this together for the long grind that is ahead and all eyes will be on how the two rookie managers handle what is before them.

Then again, isn’t it all about analytics that will throw everything out the window that is worked on these next six weeks?

Comment Rich Mancuso: [email protected]   Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

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, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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