If the New York Mets want to contend in 2019, they need to fire manager Mickey Callaway to save their season before it’s too late.
The New York Mets came into the season hoping to contend, but haven’t had the opening two months they hoped for. The team enters play on June 4 sitting at 28-31. They’re 4.5 games out of first place in the NL East and 4.0 out of the second wild-card spot.
Despite a hot start (what else is new?), they’ve since struggled. However, they aren’t out of the running by any stretch. There’s talent on the roster and there’s hope to turn it around. But the team needs to do something in order to make that happen, and that’s fire manager Mickey Callaway.
There have been several frustrating things about Callaway. One notable source of consternation for fans is his handling of Robinson Cano‘s lack of hustle. Over the course of one weekend, Cano twice failed to run out ground balls that resulted in outs.
Callaway kept Cano out of the lineup following the second incident, telling reporters that it was in response to the lack of hustle. However, Cano told reporters that Callaway claimed it was a scheduled day off.
The biggest takeaway from this is Callaway’s inability to communicate with his players. He either told the media before telling Cano or he simply never told Cano the reason for his benching. Either way, there was a key miscommunication on Callaway’s part.
Being a manager is a tough job, but communication with players is a must. The modern player wants managers who will talk to them and can have a dialogue. Callaway failed in those regards, and it isn’t the only time it’s happened this year.
When the Mets visited the Los Angeles Dodgers, closer Edwin Diaz blew a save in the third of a four-game set. New York heavily used him, as he pitched four times in five days. Despite that use, Callaway told the media that Diaz might be available the next night. This comes with Diaz saying that he was absolutely not available to work the finale of the series.
Mickey Callaway said Edwin Diaz might be available tonight, despite pitching the past two games and four of the past game.
Diaz said he is not available tonight.
— Tim Healey (@timbhealey) May 30, 2019
Callaway either once again spoke to the media before his player, or he simply didn’t listen when Diaz told him he couldn’t go. This has become a patter of not communicating, which is a serious issue, especially for a first-time manager. Callaway doesn’t have the background of success to fall back on with these issues.
However, his biggest issue this season has been his use of the bullpen. For one, during the month of May, he had various points where Diaz and Robert Gsellman were used four times in five days, and Diaz had a run of appearing in eight out of 12 games.
No matter how many bullpen injuries he’s had to deal with, this is unacceptable. Overworking the horses in the bullpen will lead to more injuries, more issues, and fewer relievers that can be trusted.
Beyond that, Callaway has two relievers currently on pace to make over 70 appearances (Diaz and Gsellman). A third, Jeurys Familia, is on pace to make 66 appearances despite spending two weeks on the injured list.
Seth Lugo is already at 20 games, often going multiple innings. Lugo was also on the injured list for 10 days. Callaway’s running his top pitchers into the ground. Tyler Bashlor has made the next most appearances out of the bullpen, and he’s only made 13. So not only is he exhausting his top relievers, his bridge pitchers aren’t pitching often, and are thus rusty and ineffective when they get into games.
Callaway has also made baffling decisions regarding bullpen roles. He continues to use Familia in high leverage situations despite the fact that he has struggled this year, pitching to a 6.56 ERA (entering play on June 4).
In late May, the Mets decided that they would start using Diaz for four outs in an effort to save the season. However, the next time Callaway had a chance to do so, he instead tried to get through the eighth inning without using Diaz.
It almost seems like Callaway decides prior to games that he wants to use a certain pitcher and doesn’t change from that plan during the game. That doesn’t work with a bullpen, and it’s cost the Mets.
When the Mets hired him, Callaway was sold as a guru who would use the bullpen very effectively. A year and a half later, his bullpen usage is the biggest reason for the Mets to move on.