Rightfully so, Sandy Alderson and the Mets are receiving a lot of praise -- from reporters, talking heads, and fans -- for reportedly hiring Mickey Callaway to be the team's next manager.
Recent quotes from insiders about Callaway...
Indians manager Terry Francona: "He's wise beyond his years. He is confident - and when I say confident, I mean confident enough to collaborate with others. He'll take information and sift through it and take what he wants. He's very good." (NY Times)
Anonymous source in Cleveland: "He's miracle worker with pitchers, even-tempered, smart and a great communicator." (Daily News)
Joba Chamberlain, who pitched for the Indians in 2016: "Mickey's greatest attribute is that he relates to players well. He isn't over analytical. He works with what you have got and tries to make you better." (NY Post)
May, 2017: Mickey Callaway and Terry Francona against the Detroit Tigers. in Detroit. (AP PHOTO/PAUL SANCYA)
Indians reliever Andrew Miller: "Mickey is a really good communicator with everybody, whether it's a Cy Young guy or a guy that has been up and down. I think his personality will work as a manager like it did as a pitching coach. ... He is always prepared. The stuff the Indians do for the playoffs in advance is very impressive. He will be missed in Cleveland and has a bright future as a manager." (NY Post)
Anonymous source that has worked with Callaway: "He really knows the game and how to use the analytics and more of the traditional stuff together. Always seems to have a good feel of where the players are at." (Newsday)
Indians President of Baseball Operations Chris Antonetti: ""We knew Mickey had aspirations to be a Major League manager and he certainly worked to earn that opportunity. So, we couldn't be happier for him. At the same time, it's a significant loss organizationally. Mickey made a huge impact on a lot of players, on the staff, on the front office. So, we'll definitely miss him." (MLB.com's Jordan Bastian)
Alderson and Callaway...
For what it's worth, I keep reading and hearing people giving credit to Alderson for selecting someone that does not have ties to the organization. And, while this is true, there is a line between Alderson and Callaway...
In 2007, Sandy Alderson was two years into being CEO for the San Diego Padres, at which time he hired Bud Black to be the team's manager. In Alderson's words, Black was hired because he's intelligent and has an instinctive feel for the game. Black had previously been pitching coach for the Angels, where Callaway was in the middle of his short playing career.
In 2013, nearly a decade after last working with Black, Callaway was hired to be the pitching coach for the Indians. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Black has repeatedly credited Black for shaping how to look at the game, motivate, and connect with his players as a coach.
The other thing that binds these three men is that it is quite rare for pitching coaches to be hired as manager. Obviously, Black is the best example of someone succeeding in this transition. His student, Callaway, will try to do the same. And if he succeeds, Alderson will get credit for elevating them both...
Speaking of Alderson and his managers, he has now hired five managers during his three decades working in baseball. He is responsible for hiring Tony La Russa and Art Howe in Oakland, Black in San Diego, and Terry Collins with the Mets. Callaway actually feels like a mix of all of these men, including his West Coast education in baseball, and working with and for a lot of people Alderson brought in to the game.