Not yet out of May, Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen felt compelled to extend a vote of confidence to Mickey Callaway, the team’s beleaguered manager, who finds himself under siege by fans and media less than 50 games into this season.
On Monday, Van Wagenen, who was named the Mets new GM last October, replacing Sandy Alderson, held a meeting with the Mets players and coaches before addressing the media regarding Callaway’s status following a five-game losing streak, including being swept by the Florida Marlins, the team with the worst record in baseball, last weekend.
“Mickey is our manager now,” Van Wagenen said to the media. “Mickey is our manager going forward. And we are going to provide the same support we have for him throughout the off-season as we have to this point and we’ll continue that effort full steam ahead.”
He communicated a similar message to the players and coaches. “We called a meeting today with the coaching staff and players,” said Van Wagenen, who left his position as the co-head of Creative Artist Agency’s baseball division to join the Mets.
“The purpose of this meeting had many different aspects to it. First and foremost, it was to make clear to the coaches, make clear to Mickey and make sure the players understood that I, the front office and the entire ownership group, has support of Mickey Callaway as our manager.”
After overcoming a 5-4 eighth inning deficit to defeat the Washington Nationals 6-5 at Citi Field on Tuesday night, the Mets were a disappointing 22-25, tenuously situated in third place in the National League East, 5.5 games behind the division leading Philadelphia Phillies and 2.5 games in back of the Atlanta Braves.
While those numbers do not reflect a team in crisis with over four months and 114 games remaining in the season after the Mets faced the Nationals again last night (Wednesday) at home in the third game of a four-game series, it’s the recurring circumstances of injuries sustained by critical members of the pitching staff and a lack of consistent run production that has fans frustrated.
Much of their frustration is being directed at Callaway, who is in his second season as the Mets’ manager after serving as the pitching coach for the Cleveland Indians from 2013-2017. It may be misplaced anger as widespread injuries and glaring holes in the lineup have been issues for the franchise in the years preceding Callaway’s hire.
Yet as this season takes the form of last season as well as 2017, when by June it was evident the Mets would not be a postseason contender, Callaway has become the team’s latest manager being held accountable for shortcomings that should be more so attributed to owner Fred Wilpon, his son Jeff Wilpon, the franchise’s chief operating officer, and Van Wagenen.