General manager Brodie Van Wagenen, trying to stop the conversation about the employment status of Mickey Callaway, said Monday that the manager has the “full support” of the Mets' ownership and front office, even amid the team’s worst stretch of the season.
But Van Wagenen offered nothing more specific beyond an ambiguous promise that Callaway will remain the Mets’ manager for the “foreseeable future.”
“I don’t want to leave this to be ambiguous,” Van Wagenen said in a news conference at Citi Field before the Mets’ game against the Nationals, with Callaway and chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon standing side by side — arms crossed — off to the side. “I think that Mickey is going to be a part of the future. It’s as simple as that.”
Immediately before publicly declaring his support of Callaway, Van Wagenen joined Wilpon and Callaway in meeting with the Mets’ roster and coaching staff to say more of the same.
Van Wagenen reiterated his belief in the Mets’ playoff potential, much as he did all winter — “Come get us,” he told the NL East — and said the blame for the 20-25 record at the start of this homestand rests with him and the front office.
“First and foremost, it was to make clear to the coaches, make clear to Mickey and make sure the players understood that I, the front office and the entire ownership group has support of Mickey Callaway as our manager,” Van Wagenen said. “Mickey's our manager now, Mickey's our manager going forward. And we are going to provide the same support we have for him throughout [recent months].
“We've experienced a start to the season that none of us are happy with, that none of us are content with. But the finger-pointing is not going down the chain of command to the players or the coaches. We built this team in the front office. We believe that this team has the ability to contend the same way we said that in the offseason loudly and proudly.”
Callaway’s status came to the forefront over the weekend as the Mets were swept by the Marlins, who have the worst record in baseball even after winning those three games. The Mets had three hits and no runs in the final two games in Miami. As decision makers sensed that talk of Callaway’s seemingly tenuous employment might have been a distraction for the players, “we wanted to address it,” Callaway said.
In recent days, Callaway has been consistent in saying he doesn’t think about possibly getting fired, and said again Monday after his bosses’ vote of confidence that “I’ve never looked over my shoulder one day.”
Having the support of the players “means a ton,” said Callaway, who also appreciated that sentiment from Van Wagenen and Wilpon.
“I never felt that I wasn’t supported at any time,” Callaway said. “We’ve always had unbelievable dialogue about how we can do things better.”
The last time the Mets returned to Citi Field after a rough road trip — May 10 — Callaway had a 90-minute sitdown with Van Wagenen and Wilpon to talk about how the team can be better, the same subject they focused on Monday.
“The dialogue there was focused on trying to find solutions,” Van Wagenen said.
The Mets went 3-5 from then until Van Wagenen felt obligated enough to publicly address his confidence in Callaway.
“We’ll continue to search for those solutions,” Van Wagenen said. He referenced “additional resources” to help the team on the field, and said the front office “will continue to make improvements of this roster,” citing the Monday call-up of lefthander Hector Santiago, a 31-year-old journeyman, as one example.
Not shy about displaying his bravado all offseason, Van Wagenen is maintaining his expectations, with Callaway as his manager.
“Make no mistake that there is confidence amongst the players,” Van Wagenen said. “There's confidence amongst the coaches, and we know we can play better. We haven't played to our expectations and we are going to challenge ourselves to do so here in the coming days and weeks. But at the end of the day, this is our team. We're proud of it. We believe in it.”