3 Important Things From Mickey Callaway's Press Conference

What Mets Manager Said From Florida Wednesday

Jake Brown
February 13, 2019 - 2:23 pm

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Mets manager Mickey Callaway addressed the media Wednesday in his first Spring Training news conference. Baseball season is just around the corner as pitchers and catchers reported Wednesday and the rest of the team on its way within the next week. 

The Mets had a busy offseason with new GM Brodie Van Wagenen bringing in a lot of new players and giving this team some much-needed depth. Let's take a look at three important things that Callaway addressed in his opening press conference. 

Better Equipped To Handle Pressure As Manager With Year Under Belt 

"The most valuable thing is going through it. The pressure is welcomed. I'm going to be better suited to handle things on a daily basis because of my experience last year. There was a ton I reflected on. I got feedback from everyone I could. I asked them whatever I can to be a better manager. I know if I take that approach that I'm always looking to get better every day, you're going to get the best product." 

Callaway said he spent some of the offseason talking to his coaches, Van Wagenen, people not working in the organization to get feedback on what he can do better. That is pivotal for a young manager. Going into his second season, he's still got a lot to learn, but he got those first experiences out of the way last year. One of those coaches he spoke to that will be pivotal on his staff is new bench coach Jim Riggleman. Riggleman gives Callaway a right-hand man who has managed for many years in the National League. There's a good chance we won't see another lineup out of order or any of the other first-year manager blunders that Callaway may have had in 2018. 

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How Will Outfield Situation Play Out? 

"We have outfielders that can play multiple situations. We have some really good defensive outfielders. A lot of that will depend on who is pitching that day. We have the ability to put guys in late in the game that are quality defenders. We have the ability to start guys that should be starting against the opposing starting pitcher and have great defense with the good bat. I'm really excited about all of the outfielders that we have and all the multiple options that we have." 

Callaway pointed to the defense that they have in the outfield. He was asked if Juan Lagares will be their starting center fielder, and it's too early to answer that. It seems like the Mets will mix and match guys alongside Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto in the outfield. They indeed do have options, especially if Jeff McNeil sees time in the outfield. They will have McNeil, Lagares, Keon Broxton, and Rajai Davis waiting in the minors. They also hope to get Yoenis Cespedes back late in the season. Callaway said that he spoke with Cespedes and he feels that he is on track to potentially be back at some point in the second half of the season. If Cespedes does indeed return, Callaway's job becomes much easier, giving the Mets plenty of depth in the outfield. 

Jason Vargas Will Be 5th Starter

"The way Vargas pitched at the end of the year when we got him on a regular schedule, he's out fifth starter. This guy was an All Star in 2017. Once he got on that regular starter schedule, he pitched great. He pitched better than a lot of three and four starters in the second half. He is one of the best professionals I have been around. Dave feels the same way about this guy. He's going to be a great fifth starter for us." 

Callaway confirmed Wednesday that there won't be a competition for the fifth starter spot. Jason Vargas will be their fifth starter. Vargas was an abomination in the first half of the season after coming back from the disabled list. He did look like an entirely different pitcher in the second half and moreso of the guy the Mets gave a two-year, $16 million contract to. Callaway pointed to him being healthy and having a normal spring training this year contributing to him having the same success he saw in the second half last season. Barring injuries, the Mets starting rotation is set up to be: Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Zach Wheeler, Steven Matz and Vargas.