Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Baseball people know a dead team when they see one -- and here's a sampling of words offered via text from several veteran evaluators, executives and former players during Saturday's 2-0 loss to the historically bad Miami Marlins:
"Something needs to change."
These aren't angry Mets fans talking. These are people who know the game. And they are also all folks who liked the team's offseason, and felt that the club would be better than last year.
The Brodie Van Wagenen/Sandy Alderson roster has holes and redundancies, but is solid -- and certainly not as bad as what we've seen over the past several weeks.
The natural next step, because this is how the game works, is to speculate on Mickey Callaway's job status. We aren't the first to do it, and we won't be the last.
A little more than a week ago, we reported that Callaway's job was safe for the moment. We added that he probably needed to start winning games, and quickly, for that to remain the case.
Since hearing that from plugged-in sources, we've seen the Mets win two games at home against Miami, lose a series in Washington, and endure consecutive humiliations this weekend in South Florida.
Manager changes are typically overrated, and Callaway is hardly the only person to blame for the Mets' disappointing start. But we're also watching a lifeless team, and one still talented enough to feel an urgency to save its season.
Perhaps bench coach Jim Riggleman could change the tone, mentoring up-and-coming Luis Rojas, a young coach who many see as a future manager. If the Mets need an interim skipper, Riggleman is the most obvious choice. But as one baseball person put it, elevating Riggleman would make it look like the Mets hired him for that exact purpose, rather than to mentor Callaway.
Because of that -- and because Riggleman might seem too safe a selection -- the Mets would lilely also consider an outside candidate like former Met and longtime Toronto skipper John Gibbons, former White Sox manager Robin Ventura, or longtime managers Dusty Baker or Buck Showalter -- who could bring instant credibility (don't expect Terry Collins or Wally Backman back in blue pinstripes).
Some fans will call for Joe Girardi, but Girardi left the Yankees with a reputation as cantankerous, uncollaborative, and unpopular in his clubhouse. He is not a fit.
This topic only matters so much. If Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler don't pitch consistently like aces, it won't matter who is writing the lineup. Ditto for if Robinson Cano and Wilson Ramos don't hit.
But the team is playing so poorly right now, and with so little apparent energy, that one wonders if we're approaching that rare moment where change for the sake of change will be the obvious move.
Van Wagenen spent so much time and political capital in the offseason aggressively building his roster, and publicly extolling it. He might need to shock his clubhouse into a different mood. Moving on from a manager he did not hire would be an obvious way to attempt that.
Stay tuned. This topic will not go away, no matter what happens in Sunday's series finale.