If the Mets don't contend, "it's on me", says Mickey Callaway

If the Mets don't contend,

"I have been around some pretty good arms and this is the best group of arms and stuff that I've ever seen, from top to bottom".

The Indians rode a potent pitching staff to three playoff appearances, including the 2016 World Series run and two American League Central crowns.

Everything collapsed in 2017.

Regardless, Callaway surely isn't lacking any confidence at the helm of a Mets club that won just 70 games last season.

"The front office has gotten us the players", he said. And in Callaway, they added a first-time manager they hope will maximize the value of their frustrating fireballers.

There's no question Callaway and new pitching coach Dave Eiland, a mentor to Callaway since they were minor league teammates two decades ago, were hired to fix a frayed and fragile staff that plummeted to 28th in the majors with a 5.01 ERA last season. "They just want to win ballgames".

During their 104-win season in 2017, the Dodgers found success in the starting rotation not by riding their starters but by limiting them. No team in the Majors got a better ERA from its starters, and yet, counterintuitively, no team less frequently allowed its starters to push past 100 pitches. He says if they don't do something special with this team, he's the one to blame.

With a deep crop of viable starters, all now healthy, Callaway suggested Monday that Mets pitchers may be managed similarly. "I promise you nobody else has that". "'I don't expect you to be happy about it". And that is going to be on me.

"I've never seen anything like it".

"Are we going to use information?" The good part is from what I have seen so far, there's eight to 10 guys who are already making that decision hard on us. That's going to include the way they attack, the way they control the running game, the way they attack the third time through the lineup. His plan calls for personalized pregame routines for every pitcher and position player to help better limit injuries, and a commitment to pitching efficiently to keep pitch counts in check and drive innings totals up.

Of course, it's not only the pitchers who are in his charge. "We're going to have to be more prepared. And that's the first thing they're gonna hear".

Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, and Steven Matz are the four mainstays of the rotation, and rightfully so the reason for Callaway's visible excitement. His success called attention to the value of relying on matchups rather than prescribed assignments to dictate reliever usage.

Seated behind a table during his 35-minute news conference, wearing a Mets cap and jersey, Callaway touched on an array of topics, from the team's new sports-science plan for keeping players healthy to his beliefs in throwing more breaking balls and building a flexible bullpen with no defined closer. I'm going to ask questions. "I'm going to lean on them on a daily basis", he said. For some players, this will be their first time experiencing spring training under a manager other than Collins. "Holding guys accountable and going through the process and communicating with these guys every day is the thing I'm looking forward to the most being a manager". I think my pitching background can help the hitters as much as the pitchers. "If you come into camp not ready for that, that's on you.... That's the trend right now". "We're going to implement routine and structure". He is going to educate these guys and make them better pitchers.

Mickey Callaway was a highly-touted managerial candidate heading into the offseason, and the New York Mets were the ultimate winners of that sweepstake when they hired him in October. "If we can accomplish that we're going to have a successful season". "I'm prepared", he said. "What's the definition of insanity?"

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