The New York Mets have found their 21st manager, and the choice came out of left field. After early reports indicated that Kevin Long and Manny Acta were the favorites to land the job, the Mets have tabbed Cleveland Indians’ pitching coach Mickey Callaway as their manager, ESPN’s Buster Olney reports. Callaway, 42, had been Cleveland’s pitching coach since the start of the 2013 season. The Mets and Callaway are expected to agree to a three year contract, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reports, with an official press conference likely in the coming days.
The hire of Callaway is an outside the box one by Mets’ General Manager Sandy Alderson, who was widely expected to choose a candidate he had familiarity with, such as Long. Callaway has drawn rave reviews throughout the industry, with one rival GM telling MetsBlog’s Matt Cerrone that Callaway has “the experience and qualities to be the next Joe Maddon, and the smart people in baseball know it.” It is definitely premature to compare Callaway to Maddon, but the fact that he has that kind of potential as a teacher and leader is very encouraging. The Mets also have to like the fact that Callaway has spent the past five years learning about coaching under Terry Francona, who is one of the game’s best managers.
The hire of Callaway does lead to speculation about the future of Long with the Mets’ organization. The Mets previously announced that Long would return as hitting coach in 2018, but his contract expires on October 31st. Long also may not want to stick around with the Mets after they bypassed him as manager, perhaps opting to strike out on his own and find a new landing spot as hitting coach. Callaway’s coaching staff should come into focus in the coming weeks, and if he is able to convince Long to stay it could be a big boost to the Mets going forward.