This post was originally publised October 9, 2017...
For a team whose pitching staff collapsed as epically as the Mets' did in 2017, it makes sense to consider bringing in a manager with pitching expertise. And after helping the Indians put together one of the best group of arms in baseball, that's one metric Mickey Callaway might very well lead the league in.
Since taking on the role of pitching coach in Cleveland in 2013, the pitching staff there made a complete 180. After posting a major league worst ERA in 2012, the Indians have led the American League in ERA every year since then and have put up MLB-best numbers in strikeouts and wins above replacement.
Under Callaway's tutelage, they have developed stars in Danny Salazar, Carlos Carrasco, and Corey Kluber, who may be looking at his second Cy Young Award this year. In many ways, the Indians have reached the heights of pitching that the Mets were expected to, and Callaway receives a lot of the credit. It's also noteworthy that, despite throwing hard, they have generally stayed healthy.
Callaway's on field career was a miserable one, as he put up a 6.27 ERA in 40 major league games spanning five years and three organizations. He left the majors for Korea in 2005 and saw modest success, but moved on to coaching in 2010, when he was hired as pitching coach for the Indians' A-ball affiliate.
Terry Francona, who has worked alongside Callaway since joining the organization in 2013, has sung his praises, saying "Mickey has been beyond his years or beyond his experience…he's so good." The endorsement of a two-time Manager of the Year is a big reason why Callaway is getting so much buzz around the league, despite not having managed previously. His young pitchers have also raved about him, and around the league it is considered only a matter of time before a team brings him on as manager.
With so many pitching-related struggles in 2017, it's only natural that the Mets have someone like Callaway on their list. The challenge is that his lack of experience offers little sense of how he would manage a team. His analytical approach to pitching and his reputation for strong communication skills suggests he has what Sandy Alderson is looking for, though, and he has a good shot of nabbing an interview -- if the Phillies don't hire him first.
Maggie Wiggin (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Archive Posts) has been a Mets fan since birth and a MetsBlog contributor since 2013. She loves throwing hard and hitting hard and hates the DH. When baseball is out of season, she fills her days with data analysis and evaluation and patiently waits for Spring