New York Mets outfielder Brandon Nimmo defended manager Mickey Callaway prior to the team’s final game of 2019.
The New York Mets took steps in 2019, but ultimately failed to make the playoffs despite a July surge that put them back in the wild-card hunt.
The Mets failure to make the playoffs despite a core of Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Seth Lugo raised some questions about manager Mickey Callaway‘s future.
Callway’s seat is so hot that he felt the need to publicly defend himself as the right man for the job. While the team wasn’t perfect, there was enough talent on the roster to make the playoffs, and Callaway’s continued putrid bullpen management definitely cost the team some games.
However, outfielder Brandon Nimmo thinks that the criticisms of Callaway are overstated, and that it isn’t the manager’s fault that the team failed to make the playoffs, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post.
When asked about Mickey Callaway's status, Brandon Nimmo said the neck injury that kept him sidelined for most of the season probably played a bigger role in the Mets missing the playoffs than any managerial decision.
— Mike Puma (@NYPost_Mets) September 29, 2019
Nimmo placed the blame for the Mets season on his neck issues, which caused him to struggle in April and ultimately kept him out of the lineup for three months of the season. While Nimmo being out of the lineup wasn’t helpful, it didn’t kill the Mets either.
Conforto hit 32 home runs with a .363 OBP, J.D. Davis had a .895 OPS and McNeil hit .318 while playing good defense in the corner outfield positions. A healthy Nimmo makes the Mets better, but by no means was outfield the primary issue for the team.
The team’s issue was a bullpen which pitched to a 4.99 ERA, which was the fifth-worst in the majors. While struggles from Edwin Diaz and Jeurys Familia can’t be blamed solely on Callaway, when almost everybody in the bullpen performs below expectations questions must be asked about whether the team has the right guy deciding how and when to use them.
While it’s certainly honorable of Nimmo to attempt to take the blame for the season away from Callaway, the team’s issues went deeper than Nimmo missing time this year.