Thursday, May 10, 2018

Mickey Callaway Is Still The Right Man For This Job

I don't know if I can count how many times the Mets have signed the wrong player or brought in the wrong coach under the guise of "veteran leadership." However, this offseason they finally went with a rookie, a wild card, someone young and bright and full of potential when they hired Mickey Callaway to be the manager. He said all the right things during Spring Training - talking about fixing Matt Harvey and getting every ounce of ability out of Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler. He got off to a hot start in April, every pinch hitter seemed to be driving in runs and every reliever was getting big outs. Then May started and the Mets stopped hitting and pitching at the same time. All of sudden pinch hitters were striking out and relievers were blowing leads left and right. People began second-guessing every move Callaway made because, simply put, nothing was working.

In true New York fashion, on May 10th, less than a quarter of the way through the season, people are questioning whether Callaway should have his job. Mickey Callaway absolutely should have his job and the Mets' shortcomings are not his fault.

The fate of this season was never in Mickey Callaway's control. Yet, how the Mets reach the finish line is something he can control. This season should be about keeping the young players on the field as much as possible. Brandon Nimmo should play more than Jay Bruce. Seth Lugo should be in the starting rotation instead of Jason Vargas. P.J. Conlon and Jacob Rhame should be in the bullpen. Ty Kelly should replace Jose Reyes on the bench. Luis Guillorme and Wilmer Flores should get every start while Todd Frazier is out.

Mickey Callaway himself is young for his job. He has many years of managing in his future and it could be so much fun to watch the players on the field mature as Callaway matures as a manager. Imagine having a manager who knew exactly which pitchers Michael Conforto was best built to succeed against and which were a better matchup for Juan Lagares or Brandon Nimmo. Imagine having a manager who could spot the first signs of fatigue towards the end of a Steven Matz start. Imagine having a manger who has spent so much time growing with his players that he knows how many games they can play without a day off and which questions to ask to find out if they are banged up.

I spent all winter watching as young Rangers were terrified of making mistakes because even the smallest flub would lead to being benched. It is so refreshing to see something different from the Mets. Just the fact that Mickey Callaway has kept an even keel during a prolonged, frustrating slump is an encouraging sign and I truly cannot wait to see what he does with the rest of the season.

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