The New York Mets’ front office has dictated at least some pitching moves during games this season, multiple organizational sources confirmed to ESPN’s Buster Olney.
The New York Post was the first to report the unusual machinations, citing a specific incident on June 1, when Jacob deGrom was removed from a game while dealing with a hip cramp.
Front offices are typically heavily involved in the planning of lineups and possible pitching matchups before each game, but generally, most managers have the autonomy to make moves through the course of each contest, often applying the information provided by analysts and executives.
Some evaluators with other teams reiterated Monday it is very rare for a member of the front office — an owner or general manager — to direct managerial decisions during games.
Under Sandy Alderson, who was fired as general manager of the Mets last year, the manager was left to make in-game decisions. Sources say that has changed under Brodie Van Wagenen, who is in his first year as general manager of the Mets, with directives being forwarded to manager Mickey Callaway through clubhouse staff.
Callaway, in his second year as Mets’ manager and his first working under Van Wagenen, has accepted and implemented the directives, according to the sources.
The Post reported that Van Wagenen was watching the June 1 game on TV when he relayed an order to remove deGrom in the seventh inning after Callaway and a trainer visited him twice on the mound.
Van Wagenen told the Post on Monday that he can have a “dialogue” with Callaway for injury-related decisions, but insisted the manager is responsible for baseball decisions during games.
Callaway came under fire Sunday after cursing at a reporter following questions about his decisions on pitching changes. The incident earned him a fine from the team, and he apologized to the reporter as well as the assembled media on Monday.