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Mets make splash with the hire of Mickey Callaway

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CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 06: Pitching coach Mickey Callaway
CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 06: Pitching coach Mickey Callaway
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Callaway was officially announced as the Mets’ 21st manager in team history and carries a lot of promise with him

Joel Sherman first reported on Sunday the New York Mets hired Mickey Callaway as their new manager. The deal was announced by the Mets on Monday. Callaway comes over after five years as the Cleveland Indians’ pitching coach.

Talk about a splash move and a pleasant surprise. The Mets were rumored to favor the in-house candidate, Kevin Long and Mariners’ third base coach, Manny Acta. Instead, they went to the highly regarded assistant who has a record of building and sustaining strong pitching. At age 42, Callaway will be the fourth youngest manager in the big leagues.

By now, you’re probably familiar with a lot of the numbers Callaway’s staffs and bullpen over the years have posted. Cleveland led the American League in strikeouts four consecutive seasons. In 2017, the Indians’ pitching staff topped baseball in strikeouts, ERA. Plus, they allowed the fewest home runs and walks in the majors.

The stats however, are just the surface. Let’s start with the ace on the staff in Corey Kluber. His first full season synchronized with Callaway’s first season. He made 26 starts in ’13 and has since elevated to one of the top pitchers in the league. Kluber won a Cy Young in 2014 and looks to be in line for a second this year. He’s also been very durable, pitching over 200 innings in each of the last four years.

Just a few other examples of Callaway’s work can be seen in the careers of Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar, and Trevor Bauer. Not to mention, Cleveland was the only team to have a bullpen ERA under 3.00 in 2017.

If you want to trace the success back even further, Callaway’s first year was Justin Masterson’s best season as a pro. Masterson went to his only all-star game, pitched three of his four career complete game shutouts, and set career marks in wins and strikeouts in 2013.

Callaway comes into a situation with a wealth of pitching, but an onslaught of health questions. Still, there is a lot of talent with this rotation as we’ve seen in the past. And Callaway was successfully able to get the most out of pitchers in his five seasons with Cleveland. There absolutely should be a high level of optimism of what Callaway could do with a team built on pitching.

Next: Possible starting rotation targets in free agency

Many have come forward about how sharp Callaway is. Now comes his first chance with a team coming off one of its most disappointing seasons in franchise history. It will be a challenge, but of all the candidates linked to the position throughout the process, Callaway and Alex Cora carried the most potential. Nobody knows how things work out, but all things considered, the Mets made a great decision.

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