Mickey Callaway and Dave Eiland have a reputation for helping pitchers. However, the New York Mets must take caution when reuniting them with guys they have helped in the past.
A plan to find treasure in the trash I have heard mentioned through several means suggests the New York Mets rely heavily on the past coaching jobs from Mickey Callaway and Dave Eiland. To put it a little more simply: the Mets should target guys both of these men have coached well in the past.
Callaway and Eiland both received past praise for duties as pitching coaches in Cleveland and Kansas City. Each managed to resurrect careers and build stellar bullpens.
Paired together in 2018 with the Mets, they haven’t had nearly as much success. Other than Zack Wheeler, there’s no player we can say they’ve seriously helped. In fact, many of the Mets pitchers have had worse years than expected.
Bryan Shaw is the Colorado Rockies pitcher who once had Callaway as a guide with the Cleveland Indians. Shaw has pitched very poorly in 2018, partly due to the thin Denver air, but also maybe for other reasons. We don’t know for sure.
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He’s a reliever some have suggested the Mets attempt to acquire in the offseason. Nobody suggests trading anything valuable to land him. The specific trade people on this train would like to see would send outfielder Jay Bruce to the Rockies in exchange for the veteran reliever.
Shaw isn’t the only name mentioned. Greg Holland, whose best years occurred under Eiland with the Kansas City Royals, is another man who has struggled this year. Things got so bad for Holland that the St. Louis Cardinals released him. He’s now with the Washington Nationals, pitching a whole lot better. The sample size is much smaller, though, and a reunion with his old pitching coach may not help him sustain his success.
When the Mets inked Jason Vargas this past offseason, it was a move suggested by Eiland. Vargas and Eiland worked well together in Kansas City. As we’ve witnessed this season, the pairing has been a disaster.
Vargas has pitched well of late, but for months he was one of the worst in baseball.
There’s definitely a value in the relationship between a coach and player. Much like Daniel Murphy and hitting coach Kevin Long work wonders together, Callaway and Eiland deserve credit for what they did for some of their pitchers.
With that said, can we really put our faith in them to turn careers around after they’ve hit rock bottom?
Athletes decline and good coaching does little to help them improve. In the right circumstances, sure, the Mets should look into making moves like the ones mentioned above. I’m fine with them taking on Shaw if it means dumping Bruce’s salary. At the right price, Holland is certainly worth a look.
Perhaps I’m too analytical with this thought process and don’t put much heart into the results. The numbers are what they are and no amount of coaching can turn that around. Ultimately, the responsibility falls on the players to perform.
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Many of the guys who fit this label haven’t. Until they do on their own, it’s best to stay away.