A month and a half ago, Brodie Van Wagenen spoke to the media in Miami as the second half of the season got underway for a Mets team that was dead in the water.
Van Wagenen said at the time that the NL East had come to get them (a self-own after his offseason "come and get us" boast), and did all of it as questions about Mickey Callaway's job continued to linger. Fast forward to Tuesday and the Mets -- after going on an incredible run earlier this month -- find themselves just 2.0 games out of a playoff spot.
While the Mets were in a tailspin on the field earlier this summer and Callaway's off-field run-in with a reporter had drawn negative attention, Van Wagenen was forced to address Callaway's job status multiple times. And he never gave more than a lukewarm vote of confidence.
Speaking with Jon Heyman and Josh Lewin on the Big Time Baseball podcast on Tuesday, Van Wagenen talked about his current perception of Callaway and credited him for keeping the team together.
"One of the characteristics that I think Mickey has done really well -- at least on the 2019 season where I've been able to see a first-hand view of it -- is he's maintained the clubhouse," Van Wagenen said. "I think that even through the adversity that we experienced the first four months of the year, that clubhouse has remained united."
Adding that everyone in the clubhouse gets along and citing their chemistry, Van Wagenen said it has been a true unit all season under Callaway.
"From veterans to the young kids to the American born players to the international players, there's been a unit that was created in spring training and was able to be sustained over the course of the season," Van Wagenen said. "It's been fun to watch these guys get along, and I credit Mickey for being able to hold this group together and put us in the position where we are now."
Still, it's fair to wonder what it will take in order for Callaway to return as the Mets' manager in 2020. Even during the Mets' run, Callaway has made multiple questionable (at best) decisions that have arguably cost the team.
It's hard to believe the Mets will move on from Callaway if they ride this run all the way to the postseason, but anything short of that could mean a change.
But for now, the vibes are good. And Van Wagenen -- while not ready to receive big credit -- is enjoying the ride.
"I won't take big-time GM accolades by any stretch of the imagination yet," Van Wagenen said. "It's been a rocky road so far -- the first half definitely wasn't how we scripted it. But it is very exciting and rewarding to see our players having turned it around and play great baseball in the second half and to be relevant. I think most importantly, we're playing meaningful games here in August and hopefully September -- where we can control our own destiny."