A relationship that seemed doomed from the start, it’s time for the New York Mets to move on from both Brodie Van Wagenen and Mickey Callaway.
Sunday was not a good day for the New York Mets.
The club had an opportunity to take three out of four from the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, but blew a lead in the eighth inning.
The bigger story, though, happened postgame. Callaway and Jason Vargas were involved in a clubhouse incident with Newsday’s Tim Healey.
The club issued an apology on Sunday night and announced fines for Callaway and Vargas on Monday.
Hoping to return to normality, the situation somehow got worse on Monday night.
In a story first reported by Yahoo Sports!’s Matt Ehalt, it was revealed that Van Wagenen had been calling the shots on pitching decisions from home.
Mike Puma of the New York Post elaborated on the concerning report:
“The source said Van Wagenen, who was watching the game at home on TV, communicated with a member of the Mets support staff with an order to remove (Jacob) deGrom from the game. Callaway complied with the order, and deGrom was visibly upset as he departed the field, certain that he could continue pitching. The manager was grilled for the move, but at the time insisted the decision was his.”
Puma said this happened during the June 1 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks. A team source confirmed this to me.
Not only is this report concerning, but it is also against Major League Baseball’s in-game communication policy.
From everything I hear, a front office is not allowed to communicate with its coaching staff during a game. That would be illegal.
(Brodie is slated to be available for comment postgame)
— Matt Ehalt (@MattEhalt) June 25, 2019
In addition to this damning revelation, Van Wagenen’s offseason additions have been flops, too.
He gave Jed Lowrie a 2-year/$20M deal in January, and Lowrie has yet to play a game for the club.
LHP Justin Wilson has been worth -0.1 WAR in 10 games. Currently serving his second IL stint of the season, Wilson was given a 2-year/$10M contract over the winter.
Van Wagenen signed RHP Jeurys Familia to a 3-year/$30M deal in December. Familia has a 7.81 ERA and is also currently on the IL.
Hiring an agent as the franchise’s general manager is an unorthodox move. After Monday’s report, combined with his failed signings and the team’s middling performance, it is time to pull the plug on Van Wagenen.
My vitriol for Callaway is far less strong. However, the last two days have ruined his credibility.
Up until Sunday, I was a Callaway supporter.
The Tim Healey incident was unfortunate, but handling the media comes with the territory in New York.
As the manager of the Mets, eyes are going to be on your every move.
With the deGrom report, I understand that he was simply following orders. Despite that, you have to have complete control of your team. In-game personnel decisions should be the manager’s, not the general manager texting what to do from home.
An argument could be made that Callaway should have been relieved of his duties following the sweep in Miami on May 17-19.
Instead, the organization voiced their support for him. In light of Monday’s news, we now know why: They see him as controllable.
Terry Collins, while far from perfect, would never have let this fly. Joe Girardi, a popular candidate among fans to be the next skipper, wouldn’t either.
I like Mickey and think he’s far from the worst manager in the game. During his time with the Cleveland Indians, he was one of the game’s best pitching coaches.
Monday is a day that will not be forgotten.
It seems to be impacting the club’s performance, too. With all the negative press circling the club, the Mets really could have used a bounce-back performance in Philadelphia on Monday night.
Predictably, they laid an egg.
The Phillies were able to snap a seven-game losing streak with a 13-7 win over the Metropolitans.
Steven Matz allowed seven earned runs in 4.1 innings. In two starts at Citizens Bank Park in 2019, Matz has allowed a disastrous 13 earned runs.
Brooks Pounders relieved the left-hander and didn’t fare any better. He allowed five earned runs of his own in just 1.2 innings.
The Mets hit four home runs in this game and weren’t even really competitive.
Now nine-and-a-half games back in the NL East, the club is only five-and-a-half games ahead of the lowly Miami Marlins.
This team was built to contend in 2019. They hung around the .500 mark for 60-plus games, but have quickly faded into mediocrity.
League sources have described this club as a “mess.” The best way to clean this mess up is to clean house.