By Lloyd Carroll
When the news broke Thursday that the Yankees had fired their manager of ten years, Joe Girardi, the reaction of most was a mild surprise but not shock. You had the feeling that Girardi knew that short of his team getting a parade down the Canyon of Heroes for winning the 2017 World Series that he would probably get the ax from Yankees upper management.
Needless to say, a number of Mets fans on social media, as well as some in the sports media, was wondering if the Mets rushed things by hiring the little-known Mickey Callaway as their manager three days earlier. After all, Joe Girardi was a household name with a high-winning percentage and was clearly a man who was not intimidated working in arguably the high sports profile job in the nation’s biggest market.
My gut feel is that Joe Girardi’s agents probably let the Mets know in a very discrete manner that he would not be interested in moving to Queens at this juncture. It is a safe guess that the Mets would not be comfortable with Girardi’s compensation demands even if he were amenable to commuting to Flushing.
Even if the Mets and Joe Girardi were in sync on financial issues, he still wouldn’t be the right hire at this juncture. He is better suited for a team that is a lot closer to being one of baseball’s elite teams than the Mets are. Fans of the Amazin’s won’t want to read this, but based on what we saw last year, and given Sandy Alderson’s late July and early August trades of veterans for low-level minor leaguers in return, the Mets are a lot closer to NL East bottom feeders as the Braves and the Phillies than they are to the perennial powerhouse in the division, the Washington Nationals.
At his introductory press conference, Mickey Callaway said that he considers the Mets to be contenders, but that was probably diplomacy on his part. Mets general manager Sandy Alderson has brought him in for the long haul and the fact that as one of baseball’s youngest managers he should have an easier time of relating to today’s players than either Terry Collins or Joe Girardi enjoyed.