Job status unclear, Callaway proud of Mets

September 30th, 2019

NEW YORK -- As they do every year after the season, the Mets will hold organizational meetings this week at Citi Field. Conspicuously absent from them will be manager Mickey Callaway, who plans to make the 19-hour drive home to Florida with no guarantees about his future.

That Callaway wasn’t invited to the Mets’ baseball-operations powwow is unusual, though not entirely unexpected for a manager who spent nearly the entire season answering questions about his job status. On two occasions, general manager Brodie Van Wagenen publicly vouched for Callaway, whom he did not hire. Although Callaway is under guaranteed contract through 2020, his job never seemed particularly secure.

And yet, when the Mets completed their season-ending, 7-6 walk-off win over the Braves on Sunday, Callaway’s managerial record in New York improved to 163-161. This year, he guided the Mets to their highest win total since 2016 and their third highest in the last 11 seasons.

“I don’t have any anxiety,” Callaway said. “I’m proud of what we did this year.”

Callaway’s final 2019 win included seven innings from Noah Syndergaard, a go-ahead home run from Joe Panik in the eighth, a blown save by Paul Sewald in the ninth and a two-run Atlanta rally in the 11th. Dominic Smith won it on a walk-off three-run homer in the bottom of the 11th, prompting Callaway to call the game “very similar to our season.”

The incongruity is that the Mets won the game, but not the season. They are one of 10 National League teams going home on Monday, rather than one of five in the postseason.

Callaway will be among those leaving New York, though he stressed Sunday that his intentions are to prepare for 2020 until someone tells him otherwise. Earlier this week, Callaway campaigned for his own job, calling himself “the right guy to lead that team.” The only question is if the Mets agree.

Last offseason, Van Wagenen indicated that the Mets might be the best team in the NL East, urging the rest of the division to “come get us.” It remains to be seen how much patience he may demonstrate with a manager who led the team to third place, not first.

“A manager’s job is to get guys going in a direction, and I think these guys never wavered from that, so I’m definitely proud about that,” Callaway said. “I come to work as hard as I can every single day. I understand the rigors of the job and I try to deal with it the best I can, and try to stay even-keeled for the organization’s sake and for our players’ sake. ... Do we have more to accomplish? Way more. And I’d like that to be under my watch.”