New York Mets’ manager Mickey Callaway will have his work cut out for him. Callaway’s predecessor, Terry Collins, managed the most games in franchise history and guided the Mets to two consecutive playoff appearances, including a National League pennant in 2015. While the choice to switch from the 68 year old Collins to the 42 year old Callaway makes a lot of sense, the Mets need to help put together a solid coaching staff to support their first time manager. MetsBlog’s Matt Cerrone examined some potential candidates for Callaway’s staff and identified several key positions that need to be filled recently, so let’s take a look at his top priorities and discuss some options:
Bench Coach: With Callaway having no previous managerial experience, the bench coach hire will be an important one for General Manager Sandy Alderson. The bench coach is often a sounding board for the manager, and Collins clearly felt more comfortable with Bob Geren as his bench coach in 2015 than he ever did with Dick Scott in the next two years. Cerrone speculates that the Mets are looking at either Manny Acta or Sandy Alomar Jr as a potential bench coach, both of whom have ties to Callaway from his Cleveland days. Acta reportedly wowed the Mets in his interview last week, but with Alderson hinting that they knew Callaway would be the manager early on Acta’s interview could have been a test run for the bench coach spot. Alomar served with Callaway on Terry Francona’s staff in Cleveland, is highly respected in the game, and has experience as a bench coach with Francona. Those two are probably the favorites for this position, and both would serve as good counterbalances to Callaway’s skillset.
Pitching Coach: Callaway’s choice for pitching coach (and to a lesser extent, bullpen coach) should be very interesting since this is his area of expertise. The Mets let well regarded pitching coach Dan Warthen go after the season, much to the chagrin of several of the team’s current hurlers, so this hire will likely also be an outsider. Callaway could go with someone he has a connection with in the Cleveland organization, such as current Indians’ bullpen coach Jason Bere or Triple-A pitching coach Steve Karsay. There is a good choice at least one of those spots will be filled by someone who has a prior working relationship with Callaway, while the other could be a collaborative effort between Callaway and Alderson. It is worth noting that a lot of big name pitching coaches have been let go this season, including Dave Eiland, Mike Maddux, Warthen, Chris Bosio, and Dave Righetti. Eiland has already been linked to the Mets, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports, and has a link to Callaway from when they were teammates in the Rays’ organization. One person who probably won’t factor into either opening is current bullpen coach Ricky Bones, who Puma reports could join Alex Cora’s staff in Boston.
Hitting Coach: This situation is worth monitoring because of Kevin Long. The Mets announced that Long would be back in his current capacity in 2018 at the beginning of October and granted him an interview for the manager’s job. Long quickly said at the time that nothing was finalized and he was just granted permission to interview for Washington’s vacant managerial opening. It is very likely that Long heads for greener pastures after being bypassed for the manager’s job, which would be a blow to the Mets since he is highly regarded for his work. If Long walks, the Mets could consider promoting his long time assistant Pat Roessler to hitting coach. The Mets could also look outside the organization for a replacement for Long, but this situation depends pretty much entirely on whether Long is willing to stick around with an organization that passed him over for a promotion.
Base Coaches: The Mets still have to consider the first and third base coach positions. Glenn Sherlock was the third base coach last season and may still retain his job since he is regarded as an excellent catching instructor. Tom Goodwin served as the first base coach and it appears likely that he will be moving on. These positions will likely be filled last. One name to watch here could be Tim Teufel, who served on the Mets’ coaching staff from 2012 to 2016, as Puma reports he could be back as an infield coach with Scott on his way out.
The Mets will likely spend the next few weeks sorting out their coaching situation, which may be affected by how the Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies fill their vacant managerial positions. The coaching shuffle should continue in earnest throughout November, although most teams like to have their entire staff complete by the Winter Meetings.