During his media availability at the winter meetings on Tuesday, Mets manager Mickey Callaway said that he’s willing to be flexible with the closer role and won’t necessarily hand the ball to the same guy in the ninth inning every time. It makes sense that Jeurys Familia will be the default go-to guy out of the gate due to the 94 saves he accumulated between 2015 and 2016, but Callaway should be expected to play the matchups more than his predecessor Terry Collins did.
That means sometimes handing the ball to Jerry Blevins or AJ Ramos if Callaway feels like one of those guys gives New York the best chance to win. The skipper talked about how his old Cleveland club used to use Andrew Miller. During the team’s pennant run in 2016, the dominant lefty wouldn’t always show up in the same inning. If he was needed as early as the fifth inning, that’s when Miller would be inserted.
It’s always made sense for a manager to deploy his best relief pitchers in the most important situations, but that’s not always what happens. Too often we see a less talented hurler blow the lead in the sixth or seventh inning while the lights-out guy watches from the bullpen. With Callaway at the helm for the Mets, we should see Familia used earlier than the ninth inning in certain close games, and that will hopefully give the team a slight edge over clubs with managers who are more bound to tradition.