After the past seven seasons of an aging Terry Collins, the New York Mets have hired Cleveland Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway as their new manager. This is perhaps one of the better decisions the team has made over the past few years. The only better managerial option I could think of would be a doctor from New York’s Hospital for Special Surgery but since doctors rarely play baseball, Callaway is the next best thing for a team of young arms.
We’ve heard a lot of names tossed around for this position. Callaway was one I always liked and felt would be the next best option if the Mets missed out on Alex Cora, which I somehow knew they would. But Sandy Alderson has delivered yet again with Callaway. I, like most Mets fans, feared hitting coach Kevin Long would be the next hire. While Long has done wonders for the Mets at the plate, I think the team can continue to enjoy him remaining as just the hitting coach.
Callaway’s track record
Callaway may be young, but he’s responsible for the pitching success that brought the Indians to the World Series last year thanks to building up arms like Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, and Carlos Carrasco. Thanks to Callaway, the Indians had one of the highest strikeout totals in the majors and a collective team ERA of 3.30. Thus, what better place for him than the leader of a team that has built itself around strong, young pitching?
But it’s the health of the pitching staff that’s been the Mets’ downfall these past two years (Well, the health of the team as a whole, but that’s an analysis for another day). Hopefully, Callaway can bring some new insight regarding training and technique. Not necessarily to generate more swings and misses, which would also be fantastic, but perhaps even something that will reduce the strain on the arms of the Mets’ young staff. Maybe Callaway even has the magic words to make a mentally exhausted Matt Harvey right again. There’s so much potential for this new hire to steer the Mets’ ship back in a direction towards the postseason.
Unlike Collins, a younger manager means more emphasis on sabermetrics. It would be great to see a Mets lineup built with more of a focus on stats. As we’ve now seen with the success of the Houston Astros, leaning more on sabermetrics can do wonders when applied correctly. Collins was always adverse to jumping on board with the new stats and that approach might have limited the team’s potential.
I can’t rave enough about how much I like this hire for the Mets. It’s only boosted my excitement for next season and spring training in March. It will be interesting in the next few months to see who Callaway has surrounding him as he assembles his coaching staff, plus who the Mets add to their training staff. Maybe this will finally be the year the Mets can stay healthy or, at the very least, make it back to the postseason.
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