The New York Mets’ success has hinged on their starting pitchers in recent years, so it only makes sense that the team would hire a pitching expert to be their next manager. The club reportedly did so Sunday, selecting Cleveland Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway as its next skipper.
The 42-year-old Callaway has been Cleveland’s pitching coach since 2013. Under his watch, Cleveland’s pitching has ranked fourth in ERA and first in strikeouts. He’s had a lot of talent to work with, and deserves credit for overseeing the emergence of both Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco during his tenure.
The Mets also have plenty of talent, but the team ranked 28th in team ERA in 2017. Jacob deGrom was the only member of the rotation to stay healthy, topping 200 innings for the first time in his career. Everyone else — Zack Wheeler, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, Robert Gsellman and Noah Syndergaard — got hurt.
Callaway’s first order of business with his new club will be figuring out a way to keep those guys on the field. His second will be trying to get Harvey to return to form.
The 28-year-old former ace hasn’t been the same since surgery to correct thoracic outlet syndrome. The list of pitchers who have come back from the procedure is pretty slim, so Callaway has his work cut out for him. Harvey posted a 6.70 ERA over 92 2/3 innings in 2017.
Callaway spent five years in the majors from 1999 to 2004. He was a member of the Tampa Bay Rays, Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers. Callaway posted a 6.27 ERA over 130 2/3 innings in his career.
While Callaway doesn’t have previous experience as a manager, he was starting to gain steam as a highly coveted candidate. Terry Francona had nothing but good things to say about Callaway following Cleveland’s exit from the postseason, even predicting his pitching coach would likely get a job managing another team.
Here's what Francona had to say about Mickey Callaway after their season ended. pic.twitter.com/PRDRtVNSXN
— T.J. Zuppe (@TJZuppe) October 22, 2017
Callaway beat out a number of other candidates for the position. Team hitting coach Kevin Long, White Sox bench coach Joe McEwing and former Indians manager Manny Acta were all considered for the role. Callaway is expected to be introduced as the club’s manager at a news conference on Monday.
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