Steve Phillips: Mets Have Internal Battle Going On

LISTEN: Former Mets GM Joined CMB

Maggie Gray & Bart Scott
May 20, 2019 - 2:55 pm


Steve Phillips was the Mets general manager from 1997-2003. He knows a thing or two about running the ship in Queens and getting fired as he was in the middle of the 2003 season. Mets manager Mickey Callaway is very much on the hot seat right now after the team was swept by the lowly Marlins in Miami. 

Phillips joined WFAN's Carlin, Maggie and Bart Monday to talk about the future of the Mets manager.

"When there's speculation out there that a manager is in trouble, players almost wait to see what happens. Either they're going to wait to turn it on for the new staff, new manager or they need the organization to say we're not making a change, so play for this guy and then they get going," the MLB Network Radio host said. "This feels like there's enough stuff out there right now that it needs to legitimately needs to be addressed by the organization in some definitive way. They either do it or don't do it and if you're not going to do it, make a statement that it's not happening and this is my manager and I'm going to go with him and play...that dreaded vote of confidence, but it's got to be a definitive vote of confidence if you're going to go that way." 

It may not fall on the GM, but could be the Wilpons that want to or don't want to fire Callaway.

Related: Brown: Mets Must Show Accountability, Fire Mickey Callaway Now

"This is never just a general manager's decision, this is an organizational decision," Phillips said. "Admittedly, I will say, there were times when I would have fired Bobby Valentine, but I wasn't allowed to because ownership didn't want to do it then or thought we could maybe work through whatever the issues were. Sometimes it may start at the ownership level. It may spur the general manager to understand. There were times when my assistants said to me 'are you listening to the man? Are you hearing what he's saying? You got to listen to it.' Sometimes you just go with what the owner wants because some of it is survival as well unfortunately. Within the Mets, it can start from the general manager up or ownership down. More often than not, it's some combination of those two." 

Callaway's criticism only grew this weekend after deciding not to pull Robinson Cano for not hustling on two separate occassions this weekend. 

"Mickey's in a tough spot. If he benches Cano then the story is 'Callaway fighting for his life, benching his non-humbling star.' And it has a different spin to it. I probably would have encouraged some level of discipline at that point because now you have to send a massage that enough is enough. I don't care who you are. Even if you have an explanation, it's not an excuse. He should be hustling, especially when your manager's job is on the line and it's going as poorly as it is. It feels like the Mets have more of an internal battle going on than they do competing against the other team." 

You can hear the entire interview in the audio player above. 

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