The 2021 season was an infuriating one if you were a fan of the New York Mets.
There’s no need to rehash the details of what happened, but it’s important to remember what the issues were and figure out if those issues.
Last season was Luis Rojas’ second as manager of the Mets. In his first season, the team underachieved, finishing with a record of 26-34 in a 60-game season. After the Mets were sold to Steven Cohen, the management felt that Rojas didn’t deserve to be fired after one season. However, after the 2021 season, it was clear and obvious, Rojas was in over his head. It was another year of underachievement, and more importantly, there never seemed to be any urgency from the team, and the team’s mentality seemed broken beyond repair.
In September, I wrote an article highlighting the booing incident between the Mets fans and Met players.
Javier Baez, Francisco Lindor, and Kevin Pillar were just a few players who expressed issues with the booing and came up with a plan to fight back against the fans. We all remember the thumbs down from the players to the fans. It was a calculated and planned response.
The manager, meanwhile, claimed he did not know about it. Nor did he seem to know about a brewing issue earlier in the season between Lindor and second baseman Jeff McNeil, which eventually led to a fistfight between the two players that got a ton of attention.
Those are just two examples that Rojas, who may be a nice guy to some in the media, did not have any grasp of the clubhouse at all.
In this day and age, with analytics playing a major role in the decision-making, it is so important for a manager to have the pulse of the clubhouse. Rojas failed at that miserably.
This off-season, the Mets have come out and showed that they wanted to change the culture of the team. When they signed Max Scherzer to a 3-year, $130 million deal, the group pointed to his leadership capabilities as one of the biggest reasons for his signing. They praised the same about Mark Canha and Eduardo Escobar, both of who are looked at as superior personalities in the clubhouse.
The biggest problem with the Mets in 2021 wasn’t that they weren’t talented. It was that they had no true leader on the team and a lot of animosity in the clubhouse. That led to countless distractions.
There was also no sense of urgency. Remember Pete Alonso’s baseball comments after being swept in a three-game series against the Phillies? Yeah, those comments were just more signs of a team without a true leader and a true winner leading the club.
While I have made my voice clear on social media about who I think the club should hire as manager, the most important thing is that the Mets want to change the mentality that costs them a chance at the playoffs in 2021. They’ve made that pretty obvious during this off-season.
With that mentality, all three of the candidates remaining should have those same qualities. So no matter who they hire, if there are issues with the 2022 Mets, know it won’t be similar to the ones we saw in 2021.
Baez, Pillar, and Rojas are now gone, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence. The front office won’t tolerate what happened in 2021, and that is a good thing.
Featured Image: Corey Sipkin/AP