Though Manny Acta was viewed as one of the front-runners to get the Mets open manager spot, the club is going in a different direction. The Mets announced on Monday that they have finalized a deal to hire Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway.
Callaway, 42, was reportedly one of the top names for the Phillies' opening as well, so the Mets have won this one.
Callaway has served as the Indians' pitching coach for the past five seasons. Under his watch, the Indians have ranked seventh, fifth, second, second and first, respectively, in American League team ERA. These last few years, the Indians had a dominant pitching staff and this season it was arguably the best in baseball.
Personnel always has a lot to do with such matters, but there was a very clear upward trend there with Callaway as the pitching coach. He's overseen drastic improvement from starters like Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer and Carlos Carrasco as well as similar steps forward from relievers like Bryan Shaw and Cody Allen.
We knew early on that once the Mets moved on from Terry Collins they were looking for an opposite type manager. They wanted to get younger, more new-school and more sabermetrically-inclined. In Callaway, they can check every box here, as the Indians are well known as one of the most progressive teams in baseball while Callaway is more than 25 years younger than Collins.
Callaway spent parts of five seasons in the majors, appearing in 40 games for the Rangers, Rays and Angels. Between the majors, minors and his time in Korea (KBO), Callaway has 13 seasons of professional experience as a player.
Aside from Acta, other reported candidates for the job of Mets manager were Mets hitting coach Kevin Long and White Sox third base coach Joe McEwing.
He has never been a manager at the professional level, but Callaway has been watching Terry Francona -- who I consider the best in the business -- closely for the past five seasons. Time will tell, obviously, but this looks like an excellent hire.