Shortly after the Mets announced Thursday that they had relieved manager Mickey Callaway of his duties with one year remaining on his contract, GM Brodie Van Wagenen and COO Jeff Wilpon discussed the move and what will come next.
After multiple days of organizational meetings, Van Wagenen and Wilpon traveled to Callaway's home in Florida to have what Van Wagenen termed "open dialogue" and inform him of the decision to move on. Decisions have not yet been made on Callaway's coaching staff.
"We arrived at the decision really after multiple meetings between myself and Jeff, between some of the senior leaders in our baseball operations department -- including Omar (Minaya) and Allard (Baird) -- meetings with Fred (Wilpon) and meetings with Mickey as well," Van Wagenen explained during a conference call with reporters.
Van Wagenen said that during the meeting on Thursday, he thanked Callaway for his work over the past two years, specifically his work ethic, good attitude, passion, and perseverance.
"We did feel like this move will give us the opportunity to continue our progression and ultimately get us to where we want to go as a team and as a franchise," Van Wagenen said, adding that the team has already identified an "expansive list" of potential replacements for Callaway.
"As we now look at what the next steps are, we have spent a good amount of time -- as you can imagine -- identifying an expansive list of potential candidates," Van Wagenen said. "And we'll start to do detailed diligence on each of these people and we will start to reach out to those people in the coming days as we start to go through our thorough and deliberate process."
As far as what the Mets are looking for in a new manager, Van Wagenen cited "strong leadership and someone who is able to continue to collaborate and take some of the available resources," while noting that they will be interested in candidates who have experience at the major league level and/or minor league level, but will also be open to "outside the box" candidates.
Had Callaway been retained, he would've entered the season as a "lame duck," Wilpon explained, saying it would have been a "tough bind" to put Callaway (who was hired by former GM Sandy Alderson) in that position.
"We knew that we wanted to give Mickey the chance to prove himself to Brodie. ... It's not easy to let somebody to go, especially somebody you like and respect like Mickey. He was a true gentleman," Wilpon explained.
Wilpon also said the midseason clubhouse incident between Callaway and Newsday reporter Tim Healey didn't factor into the ultimate decision made by the Mets' baseball operations department to relieve Callaway of his duties.
When asked about what the Mets might be willing to pay a new manager, Wilpon deferred to Van Wagenen.
"In making this decision about Mickey, I never asked the question to Jeff about price," Van Wagenen said. "I didn't make recommendations based on what was either owed to Mickey or what the expectation would be for the manager. ... we haven't contemplated a financial component to what is the right person."
While Callaway's time with the Mets is over, Van Wagenen pointed out that the decision to move on was "less about any shortcomings from Mickey and it's more about the upside opportunities" that other candidates could bring.
In the coming days and weeks, the Mets will begin to reach out to those candidates, with Joe Girardi, Buck Showalter and many others potentially among them