Monday, May 20, 2019

BVW Gives Callaway Vote Of Confidence

Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen on Monday afternoon. Photo by Jason Schott.

With the Mets returning home on Monday after a 1-5 road trip, General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen addressed the media on Monday afternoon about the state of the team. 

The trip concluded with a sweep of the Mets by the lowly Marlins in Miami, and that dropped their record to 20-25 as they start a four-game set with the rival Washington Nationals at Citi Field on Monday night.

"We called a meeting today with the coaching staff and with the players," said Van Wagonen. "The purpose of this meeting had many different aspects to it. First and foremost, it was to make clear to the coaches, make clear to Mickey, and make sure the players understood that I, the front office and the entire ownership group has the support of Mickey Callaway as our manager.

"Mickey's our manager now, Mickey's our manager going forward, and we are going to provide the same support we have for him throughout the offseason as we have to this point. We'll continue that effort with full steam ahead.

"I think from our standpoint, the mission that I outlined when I was hired was pretty clear. I sat in the same chair and made the same comments that we want to win and we want to win now and in the future.

"We've experienced a start to the season that none of us are happy with, that none of us are content with, but the finger-pointing is not going down the chain of command to the players and the coaches.

"We built this team in the front office, we believe this team has the ability to contend the same way that we said that in the offseason loudly and proudly.

"The accountability that will ultimately fall on this team I want to place on my shoulders. I think that I was the one that put the efforts in to helping build this roster. I'll be the one, along with the rest of the front office team, that will continue to make improvements to this roster as we go forward, like we have today with the purchase of (pitcher) Hector Santiago's contract.

"Make no mistake that there is confidence amongst the players, there's confidence amongst the coaches, and we know that we can play better. We haven't played to our expectations, and we are going to challenge ourselves to do so here in the coming days and weeks, but at the end of the day, this is our team, we're proud of it, we believe in it, and we're going to make every effort in our control to improve upon it and try to see if we can't get back into this race and capitalize on this mission statement."

Van Wagenen then answered questions and he said the following:

On why Mickey Callaway is the guy to continue to manage the Mets: "I think Mickey has the respect of the players. One of the things that we evaluated over the course of spring training and already through this season is, do the players feel united? Do the players feel connected to the coaching staff and are they all working in the same direction? We believe that that is the case. We believe Mickey has the pulse of the clubhouse, and we believe that the support he has around him will be keys to his success.

On what he feels has gone wrong this season and why he still has faith in this roster: "We've lacked consistency, I think that's very clear. At the times where we've pitched well, we haven't scored enough runs, and the times we've scored enough runs, we haven't pitched well, so we need to be more consistent, and we've come off two very difficult road trips (1-5 at Milwaukee and San Diego from 5/3-8 and 1-5 at Washington and Miami 5/14-19) where we haven't won the games that we felt like we wanted to and, frankly, should have won, and I think our challenge is to try to be better."

On who he thinks the Mets are as a team: "I think the culture that we created from the day I took the job is one that we have optimism and belief of what we can do, not what we cannot do. While we haven't won as many games as we believe we are capable of, we do believe we can win those games going forward. There will not be a wavering of the support that I give to  that clubhouse and to the coaching staff. At this point in time, it's quite the opposite. We'll double down with additional resources and try to find additional resources to help them succeed."

On if he regrets his comments in the offseason that the Mets were the team to beat and challenged the other teams in the National League East to "come and get us": "I don't have regrets from this offseason. When I said publicly and privately that I believed that we could create a contending team, I believed that wholeheartedly. I believed it then and I believe that there is still enough talent in this room to get back in contention this year, and our mission to make sure that this franchise has the opportunity to create sustained winning potential is something that won't change. I think that, as we look at our decisions, it's always important for us, at least from my vantage point, is to think about what we can do today to be better tonight and be better tomorrow and as we go forward. The decision to stay the course with these players and with this team is what we felt is in the best interest of the franchise right now."

Given that his moves in the offseason have not panned out, on why Mets fans should trust him going forward: "I think that's probably a better question for the Mets fans, but I think that our belief and conviction was rooted in processes and rooted in hard work, and rooted in decision-making evaluated by lots of different influences. We don't question our process, we don't question the people making those judgments, and we think that over the course of time, both our short-term and long-term decisions will prove to be right."

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