NEW YORK — Mickey Callaway went 11-1 in his first 12 games as manager of the New York Mets. After that, nothing ever seemed to go smoothly for him again.
Following more than a year of near-constant speculation about his job security, Callaway was fired Thursday by the Mets after missing the playoffs in both his seasons at the helm.
The move came four days after New York wrapped up an 86-76 campaign that marked a nine-win improvement over his 2018 debut. But a strong second half wasn’t enough to save the embattled Callaway, who had one year remaining on his contract.
New York went 46-26 following the All-Star break and made an unlikely charge into the National League wild card race, only to be eliminated during the final week.
“I feel unfulfilled. I feel we left some games on the field that we should have won, and we didn’t fulfill what we really had as a goal, which was get to the postseason,” chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon said on a conference call. “We’re not playing October baseball, and that’s what it’s about.”
Joe Girardi, a former Yankees and Marlins skipper, and Houston bench coach Joe Espada have been mentioned as potential replacements.
While the persistent Mets certainly made strides this year, it’s no surprise general manager Brodie Van Wagenen wanted to make a change and bring in his own choice to manage the team. The 44-year-old Callaway was hired under previous GM Sandy Alderson and retained after Van Wagenen, a former player agent, took the job nearly a year ago.
“We want to thank Mickey for his consistent work ethic and dedication over the last two seasons and I’m certain these characteristics will serve him well in his next opportunity,” Van Wagenen said in a statement. “A decision like this is never easy, however, we believe it is in the best interest of the franchise at this time.”
It was a tumultuous tenure for Callaway in his first stint as a manager at any level. Several in-game decisions drew heavy criticism, the Mets batted out of order once in 2018, and he was fined by the club for cursing at a beat reporter during a June blowup at Wrigley Field in Chicago following a tough loss to the Cubs.
The next day, it took Callaway two news conferences to make a public apology.
Pirates: Pittsburgh fired pitching coach Ray Searage and bench coach Tom Prince, four days after the team fired manager Clint Hurdle. The Pirates slumped to a 69-93 finish in 2019 due in part to injuries that ravaged the starting rotation. The Pirates posted a team ERA of 5.18, second-worst in the NL behind Colorado.