Reese Kaplan -- If Mickey's Told to Walk the Plank...


With the slumping Mets falling further out of post-season probability, the boo-birds are once again sharpening their axes for Mickey Callaway’s neck.  He was likely holding on by a thread anyway, given that he was not selected by Brodie Van Wagenen and his revised stats-driven front office staff.  Had he pulled off a miracle akin to the 1973 run to October it’s possible he’d survive to play out the third year of his deal.  However, with a .500 record perhaps being the high water mark for his tenure, it may mean that it’s time to pull the rug out from under the former Cleveland Indians pitching coach.

If he is indeed let go, who would you want leading the club in 2020? 

Often the first name to come up in these hypothetical discussions is ex-Yankees and Marlins skipper Joe Girardi.  He was a somewhat surprising choice for the Bronx Bombers after his single season at the helm of the Marlins when he delivered a sub-.500 record, but he lasted from 2008 until 2017 when they chose not to renew his deal.  During that time he was exactly 200 games over .500 for an overall .562 winning percentage.  That means in an average season of 162 games he would deliver a record of 91-71.  That’s certainly pretty good. 

The reason for the Yankees failing to retain him after 2017 seems to be two-fold.  First, he’d become increasingly expensive.  His initial deal was a 3-year contract for $7.5 million and his ending salary was $4 million per season which would rank 3rd in the majors behind Joe Maddon and Bruce Bochy. 

The other issue with Girardi (in addition to his quick exits from the post-season in his final years) was the perception he was not attuned to working with younger players.  The previously veteran-heavy Yankees probably were well suited to his style, but as they added talents like Aaron Judge, Miguel Andujar, Gleyber Torres and others perhaps they felt he was no longer the right type of manager.

Buck Showalter has always been regarded as one of the sharpest minds in baseball, but he’s moved around quite a bit.  His four years in the Bronx included two division titles, showing improvement from 4th to 2nd before those last two seasons after which he resigned.

He took a break for awhile before returning to lead the Arizona Diamondbacks, again going from a 5th place team in his first season to a 1st place team in his second.  The return to 3rd place in year three was enough for the Snakes’ management and they fired him.

After another two-year hiatus he went to the Texas Rangers where he started off in fourth place before turning in three consecutive 3rd place finishes which resulted in his termination. 

He was away from the managerial ranks for 3.5 years, joining in July of 2010 to guide the Baltimore Orioles.  He finished 5th that season and again the following year before ascending to 2nd (and losing the ALDS after becoming the wildcard team), then 3rd, before finally winning the division in 2014.  He finished third and second in consecutive seasons before the talent pool on the field dried up in Baltimore and he reeled off two consecutive 5th place finishes before hanging it up after the 2018 season. 

Overall, Showalter has a positive record of 1551-1517, good for a .506 winning percentage.  Three times he’s won the AL Manager of the Year Award.

Many folks are clamoring for Joe Maddon should the Cubs decide to let him walk away after a somewhat disappointing 2019 season during which they are in striking distance of first place, currently 1.5 games behind the division leading Cardinals.  The expectations were sky high for the club, so looking up (even at a relatively slim margin of less than 2 games) seems to have folks in the Windy City characterizing it as underachieving. 

His record of achievement is enviable.  He toiled under severe budget constraints in Tampa, but after a slow start with two losing seasons he turned it on by developing a strong foundation of younger players that often competed against the deeper pocketed clubs from New York, Boston and Baltimore.  He finished his nine-year run in Tampa with a winning record, landing a gig with the Cubs where he has thus far delivered a .590 winning percentage.  Coaches who worked for Maddon who went onto their own managerial positions include Tim Bogar, Dave Martinez, Gabe Kapler, Rocco Baldelli and Brandon Hyde. 

Just as Mickey Callaway was a budget pick and the Mets have traditionally eschewed the top tier free agents for their roster, I find it hard to conceive they would be the highest bidder for managerial talent should Maddon become available.  Then again, BVW has shown a tendency to surprise folks (sometimes not in a good way), so anything’s possible.  Also, overpaying a manager by an extra $2 million is chicken feed compared to mistakes in roster construction.

If they choose to make a change, my guess would be that experience is going to count for an awful lot given the inexperience of the current manager and GM.  Towards that end, I wouldn’t expect the Carlos Beltran, David Wright or other similar types to get serious consideration.  In the case of Wright, for now people hold him on a pedestal.  If he becomes manager, then at some point they’ll want his head on a pike and that would sully the image they’ve long sought to build for the man.  In Beltran they would have much less at stake but his association with the Yankees and the lingering bad taste of his bat on his shoulder against Adam Wainwright suggests he would be a tough pill to swallow.  They could take their chances on someone with an extensive minor league managerial pedigree who would be a newcomer to the bigs, but that’s quite different than handing the reins over to someone who’s never been a manager anywhere. 

Who would you pick?


Hobie said...

He may still be a few years away, but I'm awaiting Edgar Alfonso.

Mack Ade said...


Morning. Getting ready to adher to the mandatory evacuation orders for my home county.

I think all the names you have listed are fine, but I want a young manager to manage young people.

I have grandchildren the same age as some of the members of the 25-man and a person my age is simply out of touch with today's game.

My choice for the next manager is probably a minor league manager today, in the 30-35 year old range, out of the school of analytics.

Names I don't know right now.

Mack's Mets said...

Fonzie is my choice as well. He has done an amazing job in Brooklyn. They are a very fun team to watch. My hope is that Fonzie and the entire Brooklyn roster goes to Binghamton next year so I can go watch them play. I know. It won't happen but one can dream.

Tom Brennan said...

Mack, stay safe and for Pete's sake, don't try to do any surfing.

Tom Brennan said...

Fonzie? Maybe.

bill metsiac said...

I find it interesting that many of the same fans (not just here) who are advocates of going with young players every day and giving them long leashes before giving up on them, don't feel the same about our rookie GM and sophomore mgr.

You want young decision-makers to lead the team? We've already got 'em. They're not perfect, but they are learning and improving.

And if you want to replace them, why even THINK of "old school" (and just plain old) retreads?

I say let Mickey finish his contract next year and then see if he's worth renewing. He knows the players, and they know and like him. Why start over?

Mack's Mets said...

I agree Bill. Also, why kill his moves? Wasn't Riggleman hired to help him make the right calls?

bill metsiac said...

Yep. I questioned the choice of bench coach last year, so we had a new mgr with zero NL experience and a BC with the same. Sandy didn't exit on a high note.

Reese Kaplan said...

Does the advocating for the youth movement include the pitching coach? He's nearly old enough to be MY grandfather (and I am old enough to know of such things as rotary phones and getting up to change the channel).

bill metsiac said...

I'm not the big advocate of the "youth movement". I believe in a blend of youth and experience. Thus my question was directed at those who want to push veterans aside in favor of unproven kids with "potential".

Luke Skywalker benefited from his mentors ObiWan Kenobe and even the "older than Regan" Yoda.

The strategies of the game, with the rise of Analytics, have changed, and Brodie has embraced the changes by hiring additions to that program. I don't know how much Mickey has, but my impression is that he has, as well, and he incorporates that into his management style. JMO, though.

But the days of the old-school mgrs are over, and I want no part of the retreads like Girardi and Showalter.

I feel they work well together, and it has benefited the team. Last year we had 77 Ws. As of now, with a full month to go, we've got 70.

Mack's Mets © 2012