New York Mets Mickey Callaway
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Reports indicate that Mickey Callaway will likely return to manage the New York Mets in 2019, but he still has much to prove.

With reports swirling that Mickey Callaway is projected to return to the New York Mets’ helm in 2019, it’s fair to wonder if this is the right move for the organization. Andy Martino of SNY reports that according to major league sources, Callaway’s return in 2019 is a near certainty.

Callaway’s tenure to date has been marked by underachievement (the Mets are 39-55 at the break), poor play on the field (especially fundamentals), and several curious managerial decisions. In addition, Callaway has often seemed confused during press conferences and does not always project as if he’s in control of the team.

With the Mets set to interview for a new general manager in September, it’s even more ponderous that Callaway would be back for another season. However, does the Mets’ current plight rest on Callaway’s shoulders? Maybe not.

As has become customary, the Mets have been saddled with injuries to key players. Yoenis Cespedes has played just 37 of 94 games. Jay Bruce has played in 62 games and is batting just .212 with 3 home runs. Noah Syndergaard missed six weeks with an injured finger. Jeurys Familia has spent time on the disabled list, as has Todd Frazier (who has underperformed as well).

The players noted above were expected to be keys to the 2018 Mets. In their absence, the Mets have relied on the likes of Ty Kelly, Matt den Dekker, Dominic Smith, and a host of inexperienced relief pitchers.

On the positive side, Callaway and Dave Eiland have worked with Steven Matz (3.38 ERA) and Zack Wheeler (107.1 IP and a 4.44 ERA) to be on track for their most productive seasons. Robert Gsellman, though less effective lately, has seemed to find a niche in the bullpen, along with Seth Lugo.

Callaway’s body of work clearly leans more toward the negative. However, it would not be altogether unreasonable to give Callaway another chance with a healthy team. He has done some good things with the pitching staff, and it’s hard to hold him accountable for the plethora of injuries that the Mets have experienced.

It may make sense to give Callaway a bench coach with some National League experience, as the double switch has given him trouble. And this is not to suggest that making a managerial change would not be without merit. However, with an older roster, an incredibly thin farm system, and some questionable free agent signings, on reflection, was Callaway set up for success?

With the Mets, there’s always the question of whether a personnel-decision is financially-driven. Would Callaway be retained to avoid having to spend on a new manager? Perhaps. But would his return be more about giving him a chance with a (hopefully) reshaped roster?

To the chagrin of many Mets fans, bringing Mickey Callaway back for 2019 would not be the worst decision the franchise could make.