The Mets prolonged the inevitable as long as time would allow, but the clock finally ran out on Mickey Callaway’s tenure in New York.
The Mets announced Thursday that Callaway will not complete his three-year contract as the manager of the club, four days after the team’s final game of the season, a 7-6 walk-off win over the Braves.
“We want to thank Mickey for his consistent work ethic and dedication over the last two seasons and I’m certain these characteristics will serve him well in his next opportunity,” Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen said. “A decision like this is never easy, however, we believe it is in the best interest of the franchise at this time.”
Callaway, 44, completed his first managerial stint with a 163-161 record over two seasons with the Mets. His first year featured a disastrous 77-85 finish, good for fourth place in the National League East. Callaway’s second year resulted in the Amazin’s first winning season since 2016. But the Mets fell short of the postseason after an 86-win season that showed flashes of potential.
Callaway was not in attendance during the Mets organizational meetings that took place earlier in the week. He had already spent significant time packing up the belongings in his Brooklyn apartment and planned to drive 19 hours to Florida on Monday, the day after the Mets’ final game of the regular season.
Callaway was reported to have been in an early morning meeting with Van Wagenen on Thursday morning before his dismissal.
After vouching for Callaway throughout the 2019 season, the firing allows Van Wagenen to pick his own manager to lead a young core of players who are hungry for October baseball.
Back in 2017, after Terry Collins beat the Mets to the punch and resigned from his seven-year tenure as manager, then-GM Sandy Alderson picked first-time skipper Callaway to be Collins’ successor. Callaway arrived in Flushing via Cleveland, where he spent five seasons as the Indians pitching coach. After a brief playing career that ended in 2004, Callaway worked his way up the ladder and became pitching coach under manager Terry Francona in ’13.
Following his last season with Cleveland, where Callaway guided the Indians’ pitching staff to a MLB best 3.30 ERA, the Mets swooped in and brought him to New York — a city that always seemed to overwhelm Callaway more often than it embraced him.
Callaway had a tumultuous final season with the Mets. His job status was in question nearly every step of the way, most notably after the Mets were swept by the last-place Marlins in May. Callaway survived Van Wagenen’s first cleaning of house in June when he replaced pitching coach Dave Eiland with 82-year-old Phil Regan. Perhaps already on edge after Eiland’s ousting, Callaway soon had a meltdown that included a verbal altercation with a beat reporter that took him two press conferences to apologize for.
After the Mets went 10-18 in June, Callaway’s firing seemed inevitable. But Callaway kept living to see another day. Van Wagenen reportedly directed Callaway mid-game to pull Jacob deGrom from a start and the skipper survived long enough for the GM to throw a chair during a staff meeting. All year, the relationship between Van Wagenen and Callaway seemed to deteriorate. That the Mets waited this long to let him go is a testament to the general dysfunction of the organization that will, unlike Callaway, stick around in 2020.