By hiring Mickey Callaway and Brodie Van Wagenen, the New York Mets thought “outside the box.” Things haven’t worked. Maybe it’s time to start trying to outsmart everyone and hire obvious choices.
The two biggest hires made by the New York Mets over the past two years brought us manager Mickey Callaway and general manager Brodie Van Wagenen to Willet’s Point. Both, you could say, were “outside the box” hires.
Callaway had never managed before but drew plenty of praise for his time as the pitching coach for the Cleveland Indians. How hard could transitioning into a managerial role possibly be?
Van Wagenen was a little more unexpected. The former agent went from criticizing the front office in mid-2018 for not signing client Jacob deGrom to a long-term deal (suggesting they trade him otherwise) to running the organization from the general manager’s chair. This unorthodox thinking has not paid off. In fact, both hires have been pretty disastrous.
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Before there was Callaway and Van Wagenen, the Mets had Terry Collins and Sandy Alderson. Both longtime baseball men who drew their share of jeers in New York, they at least had the experience prior. For a job like this, you need to have your aches and pains at some point. Unfortunately for the Mets, their manager and general manager seem to be experienced them at the same time. I imagine it’s like your first two kids being twins.
Along with being too green for the job, it’s quite possible neither is very good at what they’re doing. There are plenty of moving parts to run a baseball team on a daily basis. Decisions are made by more than one mind. In a year like 2019 when the front office can make calls down to the dugouts to have their say on what happens in the game, we don’t even know which of these two has more power over the lineup or a pitching change. Because of this, it’s hard to know who we point our finger at more.
Getting creative with your decision-making can pay off. All managers start off as rookies at some point. All general managers have a first-year, too. The problem for the Mets may be that they have two inexperienced men trying to make a franchise relevant. Even with experienced people whispering in their ears, the results are not there.
I’m curious how things would have turned out if Alderson or Collins stayed and only one of these vital jobs had changed. No doubt, the roster would look different. How these players were used would also be different. We only got a half year of this in 2018 when Alderson and Callaway had a rough first half.
We heard in the offseason how the Mets were looking to revamp their analytical department. Well, early results have not been good. The Van Wagenen Regime will likely take the Callaway Era out behind the shed. If things continue, BVW and members of his crew could soon follow.
To me, it felt like many of the moves the Mets made this winter were about outsmarting everyone else. A big reason they wanted Edwin Diaz was to prevent him from going to the rival Philadelphia Phillies. I’m sure the other moves they made had similar intentions.
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As the saying goes, “great minds think alike.” In their current positions, Callaway and Van Wagenen have not had the chance to become great yet. They may not even have it in them, at least for the job title they currently hold.