Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway reportedly accepted an offer to become the Mets' next manager, according to ESPN's Buster Olney.
Callaway, who has been with Cleveland since 2013, will sign a three-year deal once it's finalized, according to FanRag Sports' Jon Heyman.
Callaway helped develop star pitchers Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar in his tenure with the Indians and would inherit a Mets pitching staff that includes Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz and Matt Harvey.
"I think if Mickey wants to manage, I think it's just whenever," Indians manager Terry Francona said of Callaway last year.
While Mets hitting coach Kevin Long and Mariners third base coach Manny Acta were reportedly considered frontrunners for the job on Friday, the team had informed them and White Sox bench coach Joe McEwing earlier Sunday that they were out of the running, according to multiple reports.
Though Long's contract is set to expire, the Mets want to keep him on staff, according to the Associated Press.
The Mets had also interviewed Astros bench coach Alex Cora, whom the Boston Red Sox hired, and previously expressed interest in Sandy Alomar Jr. Brad Ausmus declined to be interviewed, while Bob Geren, Robin Ventura and Chip Hale were never serious candidates to replace Terry Collins, who resigned at the end of the season.
Callaway, 42, previously worked as the Indians' minor league coordinator. A former major league pitcher, he went 4-11 with a 6.27 ERA in 40 games (20 starts) from 1999 to 2004 with three teams.
A rival GM told me early last week, "Callaway absolutely will be someone's manager sooner than later. He has the experience and qualities to be the next Joe Maddon, and the smart people in baseball know it."
If this is true, it's a terrific hire. I have heard Callaway has a terrific, upbeat personality and has a positive, infectious energy. But don't let the smile fool you; he's described as smart, cut from the mold of a Theo Epstein or Brian Cashman.
Personally, with only second-hand information (and my instincts), I think I would have hired Long over Callaway mainly because of his experience operating in and dealing with the pressure that comes with coaching in New York. That said, there is a flip side to that, which is knowing too much, becoming paranoid and letting that dictate the manager's actions, which is what happened to Willie Randolph.
The people I spoke with last week who are familiar with Callaway said he has the temperament, organizational skills, confidence and social- and self-awareness to navigate managing a team in New York (or Boston, Wichita, or anywhere).
"He'll be fine," one American League coach told me. "He's charming enough, and aware of everything going on around him in a way that I don't think he'll ever be caught off guard or manipulated."
Jul 3, 2016; Mickey Callaway (32) returns from the pitching mound at Rogers Centre. Credit: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports
Most important, he has spent the last few years learning from and serving under Francona, who, I believe, is the the game's best manager -- including Joe Maddon. And, while working with Francona, Callaway also received constant public praise from his superiors and the pitchers he worked with for his ability to connect with players and instruct on pitching strategy.
I have no doubt that everyone in Cleveland is disappointed to hear he will not be behind them next season. That said, Callaway will be bringing his insight, style and influence to deGrom and the rest of the Mets rotation, which is really exciting.
GM Sandy Alderson did a good job with this hire. Callaway was a hot candidate. Nearly every team had interest in him. He is smart and full of potential, and now he has the Mets' future in his hands. I'm looking forward to seeing him in action.