Javier Baez

May 20/20 Hindsight: Best Mets Team Ever?

The New York Mets have finished the first two months of the season in first place with a 10.5 game division lead. That is tied for the best ever lead on June 1 in MLB history.

1.  It doesn’t matter what happens with this team. They are perhaps the most resilient Mets team we have ever seen.

2.  Luis Guillorme has earned a job in the starting lineup, and he’s playing like someone deserving of an All-Star right now.

3.  Playing time may hold back Guillorme, but it should not hold back Pete Alonso, Francisco Lindor, Jeff McNeil, and Brandon Nimmo. They’re not just having All-Star caliber seasons, but they are also building budding MVP campaigns.

4.  Lindor going around humming the Rangers goal song is awesome. That run is having a big impact on this Mets team, and it seems to be driving them all the more to have their own special season.

5.  Colin Holderman and Stephen Nogosek have earned a permanent place in the Mets bullpen.

6.  If Drew Smith is hurt, just put him on the IL. There is no need to mess around and have the chance he hurts his arm compensating for the pinkie.

7.  Trevor Williams has stepped up big time, and he has taken that last spot in the rotation for now. He might’ve been a throw-in last season in the Javier Baez trade, but he’s been a very importance piece for this Mets team.

8.  The pitching injuries necessitated Dominic Smith be sent down. The team needs the arms, and right now, Smith hasn’t made the case he should stay in the majors. Then again, J.D. Davis hasn’t either, but looking at everything, he is on borrowed time as well.

9.  Eduardo Escobar is slowly but surely coming out of his struggles, and he is primed to have the same big June he has always had. To his credit, he has not let his struggles get the better of him as he was always out there hustling. That’s why he had the big extra innings catch followed by the walk-off hit.

10. The Mets are in a tough spot at the catcher position, and it seems like the problem isn’t improving as Patrick Mazeika just can’t seem to get on the same page as his pitchers, and he’s made some questionable pitch calls. Case-in-point was that Adam Ottavino fastball.

11. The most important move the Mets made all season was Chris Bassitt. While he was not pegged as such, he has been the team’s ace all season long. That’s because he has pitched that way and because he’s the last man standing.

12. There is not enough we can say about how Carlos Carrasco and Taijuan Walker have stepped up this season. This team is in first place because of them as any other reason.

13. With Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer coming back at some point this season, it is really difficult to pinpoint where this team desperately needs to make a move to make it a World Series contending club.

14. That said, Joely Rodriguez and Chasen Shreve at least have you wondering if the Mets need a left-handed reliever. Then again, maybe David Peterson can move there for the postseason and have a 2015 Jon Niese type of impact.

15. Having Johan Santana out there with Tylor Megill, Smith, Rodriguez, Seth Lugo, and Edwin Diaz was one of the coolest photos in Mets team history.

16. It is amazing hearing Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry will return to Flushing for Old Timers’ Day. It seems like all of the Mets greats want to come back to experience this.

17. Nick Plummer is what makes a season like this so special. He’s a former first rounder who was given the bust label before having a good year in Triple-A with the St. Louis Cardinals organization. It wasn’t enough to keep him around, and the Mets have been the beneficiaries for taking a chance on him.

18. It’s astonishing to think it took the Mets nearly two months to complete their first series sweep of the season. Of course, they may follow it with yet another sweep.

19. The Mets impending west coast trip isn’t really anything but a series of nine tough games. It’s not a litmus test because we know this team is good, and we also know they don’t have all of their pitching.

20. Starling Marte has responded to hearbreak by being great. If there is anyone who understands what it means to be a Met, it may just be him.

Trevor Williams Is Really Only Option To Replace Max Scherzer

Everything was going perfect for the New York Mets. After a big four run fifth inning, Max Scherzer was at 72 pitches. That meant he had at least a few more innings before passing it off to the bullpen to close out the win. That moment came far sooner than any of us realized.

After a 1-1 pitch to Dylan Carlson, Scherzer motioned to the dugout. He was hurt, and he knew he was done for the evening. Perhaps longer.

During the game, Gary Cohen announced Scherzer was going to have an MRI. After the game, Scherzer answered reporters questions. While he seemed alright, he told them he was in considerable pain, and he was experiencing spasms in his left side. It would seem reasonable to assume he’s going to be on the IL for an indeterminate amount of time.

You could really argue this was the arm the Mets could ill afford to lose. He was the Jacob deGrom insurance. While true to an extent, the Mets really can’t afford to lose anyone from their rotation from the moment. In addition to deGrom still recovering, Tylor Megill is dealing with biceps tendonitis. That means any pitcher injury was one too many.

Jose Butto and Thomas Szapucki are the only remaining starters on the 40 man roster. Butto has pitched fairly well in Double-A, but he hasn’t surpassed 64 pitches in an outing, and he is averaging four innings per start. All told, Butto is a non-starter (pun intended) for the Mets.

Szapucki has been impressing lately posting big strikeout numbers. However, Szapucki is returning from surgery, and he has also not gone above 64 pitches in a start, and he has reached five full innings in a start once. Szapucki is working his way back to being in consideration, but he’s still building strength, and in reality, it’s best for him and the Mets that he remain in Triple-A

That leaves the Mets in a bad spot. Looking at the Syracuse roster, Mike Montgomery is probably the best non-40 option, but he has a 5.52 ERA on the season including a 9.00 ERA over his last three starts. There also aren’t any surprise options down in Double-A. Really, the Mets answer isn’t in their minor league system.

The answer is Trevor Williams.

With respect to Williams, he was a Major League starter in his five plus seasons before coming to the New York Mets in the Javier Baez trade. The best way to put Williams career as a starting pitcher was he was a borderline fifth starter. That is a large reason why the Mets wanted him at the trade deadline as part of that trade. Williams was depth who could be moved to the bullpen.

In reality, Williams has pitched his best with the Mets with a 118 ERA+. Part of that was moving to the bullpen and not having to go through a lineup the second time. Going over his career, batters are hitting .283/.351/.468 when facing him a second time in a game. Again, he’s a borderline fifth starter.

The other benefit is working with Jeremy Hefner. He’s helped Williams get more movement on the sinker. Mostly, it’s just better location. Before joining the Mets, Williams had a 3.0 BB/9 and a 7.8 BB%. Since joining the Mets, he’s now at a 2.1 BB/9 and a 5.3 BB%. He’s also striking out more batters.

It’s more than that. Hefner was Williams working more down in the zone while using his four seamer up in the zone. The result has been a 45.2 GB%. Before joining the Mets, Williams had a 42.7 GB%. This has allowed Williams to take advantage of the Mets superior up the middle defense.

If these seem like incremental gains, well, they are. However, that’s still improvement which could help Williams become a more solid fifth starter. Honestly, that’s all the Mets need him to be right now.

Fortunately, he’s been at his best with the Mets, and due to a blowout loss and now a spot start, Williams has been stretched out a bit. In fact, he’s throwing as many pitches per outing as Butto and Szapucki. However, Williams has Major League success and has proven he can start at this level.

Overall, the Mets are a the end of their starting pitching depth. Williams is the next and last guy up. Fortunately, Williams is in a position where he can step up, and he’s been the best he’s ever been with the Mets. Hopefully, he can be that stopgap until somebody, anybody is able to return to the rotation.

Juluis Randle Is Not Javier Baez

On August 29, 2021, as the New York Mets had long since past fallen well out of a National League East race they once had a stranglehold, Javier Baez gave the fans a thumbs down. After the game, Baez let the fans know that if the fans boo them when they struggle, the team was going to boo them when they succeed.

The Baez thumbs down gesture was multi-layered. What should be first noted is Baez was greeted with nothing by love by Mets fans. Really, after an inital spate of intensified booing, Baez delivered, and he was cheered, and you could argue he was even adored.

In and of itself, Baez wasn’t doing this for him. Really, he was doing it for his teammate and friend Francisco Lindor. Lindor was booed during a difficult season for him. After coming to Queens and signing an extension, the future Hall of Famer struggled, and he was (unfairly) booed. He talked about how it was affecting him, and while he didn’t ask for fans to stop, he was making it clear it was having an impact on his psyche.

When Baez did the thumbs down, he was mostly doing it in defense of his teammate. Now, it was embarrassing for the team and the franchise, but ultimately, you could understand and even respect what Baez was doing.

Last night at MSG, Julius Randle broke out the thumbs down gesture. While we didn’t first notice the Mets doing it because they were terrible, we could unmistakably see Randle doing it. After all, he’s a 6’8″ PF. Like Baez, Randle had a message to deliver.

This is different from Baez in many ways. First, Randle isn’t just here for a cup of coffee. No, Randle invested in staying with the New York Knicks. He could have waited an extra year to cash in really big, but instead, he took the first chance he had to essentially become a Knick for life.

Randle really was the reason why the Knicks surprised last year, and really, it is why we thought this season would be special. Things just haven’t turned out that way for a number of reasons. While there are reasons outside of Randle, his not being the player he was last year is certainly at the forefront. Notably, this doesn’t mean he isn’t trying or has become lazy after the big contract. That is assuredly not the case.

Certainly, Randle seems to be feeling the weight of the season and expectations. Fans who showered him with adoration last year have become criticial. While he probably took the fans booing a team down by 25 too personal (that’s what they do at MSG), the booing clearly affected him like it did Lindor. That’s another key difference between him and Baez. Randle did the thumbs down for himself, not his team.

Whereas Baez became a distraction in defense of his team, Randle became one in defense of himself. It was unfortunately a story which overshadowed a big come from behind win and buzzer beater from RJ Barrett.

Here’s the thing. Randle was great in that comeback. It doesn’t happen without him. The Knicks aren’t going anywhere without him. If that is what he needs to do to get back to being the player he was last year, so be it. No Knicks fans is going to care if the production and wins follow.

On that point, that is something Baez and Randle have in common. All it takes is production and winning for this all to go away. While there are fans who may never forgive Baez, there is more than ample time to forgive Randle. If that miracle championship ever comes, rest assured, no one will ever care again that Randle did that thumbs down.

Todd Zeile Comments About Marcus Stroman Problematic

Todd Zeile covered the New York Mets as an analyst throughout the 2021 season. That left him eight months to say something about Marcus Stroman.

However, now that Stroman is gone Zeile calls him one of the most divisive players in the Mets clubhouse last year. He intimated things in the clubhouse are better just because Stroman is a Chicago Cub.

Mind you, he didn’t say this when Luis Rojas was taking the fall for the purported clubhouse issues. Notably, he didn’t rebut Rojas when the former manager lauded Stroman for being a great teammate.

He didn’t say anything when there were reports of the Mets having a special chemistry. He was silent on Stroman when the narrative emerged the Mets didn’t do more at the trade deadline because they didn’t want to infringe on the clubhouse chemistry.

Zeile also was silent on Stroman when the clubhouse chemistry issue emerged with Javier Báez‘s thumbs down to the fans. There was a perfect opportunity to address team chemistry and issues. Zeile said nothing.

Time and again, Zeile was silent on Stroman’s impact in the Mets clubhouse. However, now with Buck Showalter being hired and Stroman a Cub, he is telling everyone Stroman is divisive.

Zeile sat on this information until the offseason. He sat on it during the many times the Mets clubhouse chemistry was at issue (good or bad). Now, that he never has to face Stroman, he’s more than ready to denigrate him.

This is completely unprofessional, and it highlights Zeile has little to no credibility. He had pertinent information to share in his role as analyst, and he didn’t disclose it.

Zeile didn’t have the courage to say anything while Stroman was a Met. He didn’t have the courage to say anything while the possibility of Stroman returning existed. This is as callow as it gets.

With these comments, Zeile lost credibility. It leaves you wondering what other information is he failing to disclose just to make his life easier. What is he not telling us so he can avoid an awkward conversation with a player?

Mets fans deserve better than this. The Mets players do as well.

Trevor Story Potential Third Base Option

With Javier Báez signing with the Detroit Tigers, the New York Mets are likely still looking for another infielder. One of the issues the Mets have is the pure second and third base options aren’t all that good.

The free agent shortstop class is so deep, and if the Mets could offer enough money, they could entice a shortstop to move to third. As we saw with Max Scherzer, the Mets have the money and are willing to offer it.

According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the Seattle Mariners have had discussions with Trevor Story to be their third baseman. Apparently, they’re not the only team.

Hopefully, the Mets are one of those teams as they still need to address third base. Given how Story has seen his once elite defense at short go from an 18 OAA two years ago to a -7 last year, it’s probably time for a switch for the 29 year old.

The decline coincided with him losing just a little bit of burst defensively. His speed has fallen from elite to good. That drop may impact his ability to play short but not third.

If you’re Story, the Mets are a good place to make that transition. Their shifting and positioning were extremely effective in putting players in a good position to make a play. He also gets to play next to Francisco Lindor who covers a lot of ground making his life a little easier.

A Lindor/Story left side of the infield has the potential to be elite defensively. It could also be very good offensively.

On this topic, let’s get one thing out of the way. There’s no reason to be concerned about Story leaving Coors Field. If you can hit at Coors, you can hit.

Of course, this refers to neutralized stats. In a down year at the plate, Story was a 103 OPS+. His career mark is 112. Generally speaking, he’s an above average hitter.

This is seen through the stats available on Baseball Savant. He hits the ball very hard, and he’s capable of squaring it up. Really looking at everything, there’s no overt reason why he had a down year by his standards, which means, he’s really likely going to go back to being the quality hitter he is.

If Story is willing to make the switch, he’d probably succeed in his attempts more in New York than anywhere else. He’s got the defensive potential and bat to be a star with the Mets. In many ways, it makes sense for both sides, and it seems like it could be a good fit.

Eduardo Escobar Really Makes No Sense

Sometimes, it’s not about the player. Sometimes, it’s about the timing. Jumping the gun to sign Eduardo Escobar is terrible timing.

Looking at the stats and metrics, Escobar is a second baseman. As a third baseman, he’s not good. He was a -3 OAA last year and a -6 for his career. The obvious problem here is he’s been presumably signed to play third.

It’s not like he particularly has a bat which is going to play well at the position. He’s a player with a career 99 OPS+. He’s been better since 2018 with a 108 OPS+, which is an improvement but not great.

Keep in mind, this is a player who will play his age 33 and 34 seasons with the Mets. Honestly, his walk rates, hard hit rates, etc. are all over the map that it’s really hard to know what he’s going to give you year-to-year.

Overall, your best bet is a roughly 2,5 WAR player. Yes, that makes him a useful player. The problem is the Mets need more, and they need better.

Keep in mind, there’s still a lot better available. There are players like Javier Báez, Kris Bryant, and even Kyle Seager. There’s other shortstops the Mets could try to move to third like Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, or Trevor Story.

Really, it’s just the beginning of free agency. There are so many options and possibilities. Instead of exploring those, the Mets opted for Escobar, who does little to almost nothing to improve the team as an everyday player.

Do Mets Fans Want Good Players?

Noah Syndergaard shocked New York Mets fans when he accepted a one year deal from the Los Angeles Angels for one year for $21 million. That was worth more than the $18.4 million qualifying offer from the Mets.

Up until this point, Syndergaard had made it clear he wanted to stay with the Mets. That was until free agency began. After that, the Mets cut off all communication, and while the Mets were quick to point out they didn’t get an opportunity to match, they also weren’t going to match.

The response from Mets fans hasn’t been bewilderment over how the team let a rehabbing ace leave. It wasn’t irritation over Sandy Alderson cutting off communication with Syndergaard like he once did with Daniel Murphy, Another Mets star who desperately wanted to stay.

The response was questioning Syndergaard’s loyalty and integrity. The belief now is he never wanted to stay. It’s on Twitter, sports radio, and of course, SNY.

Like many players, free agent Marcus Stroman especially, Syndergaard is very online. He was part of the conversation, and at times, he drove it. We also know he can be sensitive. This is the same Syndergaard who will be a free agent after the 2022 season.

We all should be expecting Syndergaard to have the Zack Wheeler type turnaround at the end of 2022 and heading into 2023. Certainly, money will dictate, like it did here, but seeing the treatment on his way out the door, why would Syndergaard want to return to this fanbase?

This is the same fanbase who had an issue mercilessly booing players this season. Incredibly, that initially happened when the Mets were in first place.

Homegrown player Michael Conforto was booed as he tried to return from COVID. Francisco Lindor was booed as he struggled to adapt to New York and all the things Chili Davis did wrong as a hitting coach.

When Javier Baez was acquired, things went from bad to worse. Baez crossed the line booing back with the thumbs down, and he dragged Lindor into it. That caused the fans to get worse until Báez was great again.

At that point, Báez was cheered and was loved. Keep in mind, Báez is a free agent. He initially talked about wanting to stay to play with his best friend, and we know Alderson has always loved him as a player.

Will Báez return? Who knows? Not everyone is Mike Piazza and wants to deal with the booing and fight to overcome it. No, some players don’t want to have to deal with the negativity which comes with the boos, Twitter nonsense, and sports radio and SNY trying to come up with the biggest nonsense.

Believe it or not, players want to get paid and play. They want to win. They want to be loved and respected by the fans.

They don’t want to deal with fans who turn their back on players because they leave, get hurt/sick, or struggle. They don’t want to deal with fans dumb enough to buy the outright lies Alderson continues to feed them (remember payroll will increase when attendance does?)

As fans, you are permitted to do whatever you want, and you can continue to parrot whatever ownership tells you. However, at some point, you have to question when is your collective behavior going to be counterproductive and keep some players away.

After all, if Syndergaard does break out, why would we want to return in 2022 after the way he was treated? What would he say to other players who are thinking of playing for the Mets? Therein lies the problem.

Mets Dangerously Close To Needing A Rebuild

When Noah Syndergaard left the New York Mets to sign with the Los Angeles Angels, one of the talking points was the Mets are going to benefit from the draft pick acquired. The way things are going that may need to be their focus.

Syndergaard leaving is another big hit to the Mets already thin pitching depth. That’s problematic given all the question marks that rotation had even when Syndergaard was expected to be a Met in 2022. If this rotation falters, this is a team who is going to be given no choice but to rebuild.

Jacob deGrom and Carlos Carrasco are coming off injury plagued years, and they are 33 and 34 respectively. With deGrom having an opt out after the 2022 season, they can both be free agents. Taijuan Walker can also be a free agent after the season. Walker had a great first half in 2021, but he faltered in the second half and would ultimately finish the season with a 90 ERA+.

As stands right now, the last two spots in the rotation would go to David Peterson and Tylor Megill. Peterson followed a poor 2020 from a peripheral stat perspective with poor 2021 stats and a season ending injury. He showed flashes, but ultimately, he looked like he was not ready. Megill burst onto the scene, but he tired quickly and fell apart at the end of the season, which is quite understandable.

Given the dearth of Triple-A pitching depth, the Mets need to sign two starters to allow Peterson and Megill to further develop and try to limit their innings a bit. Given where the prices are now, Marcus Stroman is going to need around a $25 million AAV to re-sign. Realistically speaking, it’s going to cost at least $40 million to fix the starting pitching.

Keep in mind, starting pitching is far from the Mets only problem. With Michael Conforto a free agent, and the Mets never getting a left fielder over the last three years, they need to fill-in two-thirds of their outfield. Left field could potentially be filled by Jeff McNeil, but the team needs to both hope they fill in two infield spots while also hoping McNeil rebounds from a nightmare 2021.

That is also before you consider Brandon Nimmo is going to be after the 2022 season. In reality, the Mets will have to figure out how to fill out an entire outfield over the course of two seasons. While McNeil may be the proverbial cheap choice, he is now an arbitration eligible player and will be more expensive. Thanks to Brodie Van Wagenen, the same goes for Pete Alonso.

While the Mets are figuring out how to pay two more starters, having to pay arbitration salaries to Alonso and McNeil, they will also have Robinson Cano‘s salary on the books. Unless Cano has a Jenrry Mejia situation, he is going to get $24 million in 2022 and 2023 ($3.75 will be paid by the Seattle Mariners).

Maybe Cano can take over second or third. Maybe he is a utility player. If the DH comes to the NL, he could be the DH. It’s also possible he’s just an overpaid pinch hitter or a player who will need to be released. In any event, that’s a lot of dead payroll weight when the team is potentially looking to re-sign Javier Baez to play alongside his friend Francisco Lindor. On Baez, he’s projected by MLB Trade Rumors to receive a $20 million AAV.

Before the Mets look to rebuild their bullpen with Jeurys Familia and Aaron Loup being free agents, or build depth with Jonathan Villar being a free agent, they will add at least $84 million to the payroll to add two starters, re-sign Baez, and do whatever they are going to do with Cano. Again, that is before building a bullpen and depth, and it is also before arbitration.

From a competitive balance tax threshold, the Mets payroll is $128.45 million before arbitration. Adding $84 million puts it at $212.45 million. According the MLB Trade Rumors model, the arbitration salaries could increase the payroll by an additional $49.4 million. That puts the Mets payroll at $261.85 million before they fill in their vacancies at second, third, left field, right field, the bench, and the bullpen.

That’s also before they figure out potential extensions for players like Edwin Diaz, Seth Lugo, and Nimmo. It’s also before they try to figure out a way to get deGrom to decline his opt out. The question is do the Mets really want to have a payroll around $300 million for the 2022 season? Based on what we saw in 2021, the answer is a clear no. However, we heard some rumors as to why the Mets didn’t go past the threshold.

Sure, with some creativity and shrewd moves, the Mets may not need to get to the $300 million threshold to compete in the NL East. Then again, this team is going to hire Billy Eppler as the GM. Taking a look at the complete picture, the Mets realistically have two options: (1) spend like no one has before; or (2) rebuild. Losing Syndergaard tilted it a little more towards rebuild, but it is still early in the offseason.

Mets May Need To Proceed As If There Will Be No New POBO

The other day the New York Mets made the smart decision to retain Jeremy Hefner as their pitching coach. It was a move necessary because Hefner was going to be a free agent at the end of the month, and the team needed to act quickly to make sure they retained a coach respected by the Mets pitching staff.

The problem with this decision is it seemed a little out of order. Typically speaking, you do not hire or retain a pitching coach without hiring a manager. To wit, you don’t hire a manager without having general manager and president of baseball operations in place. And yet, that’s exactly where the Mets find themselves.

The Mets seem to be at a bad spot in their search. Their pie in the sky choices in Billy Beane, Theo Epstein, and David Stearns will not be joining the organization. Unfortunately, they’re striking out at the second level and extremely qualified choices like Matt Arnold, Peter Bendix, and Scott Harris. This is far from an exhaustive list. Really, what seems exhaustive is how many times the Mets have been unable to fill this role for well over a year now.

We’re now at the point of the sensational. For example, Deesha Thosar of the New York Daily News published an article indicated Mets owner Steve Cohen is relying upon his employees at Point72 as well as former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to lead the search for the new president of baseball operations. Honestly, this doesn’t pass the sniff test considering Cohen’s background, but by the same token, we can expect to see more of the same until the position is filled.

That said, there is a bigger issue here. There are certain actions which need to be undertaken in short order, and it appears those decisions will need to be made before the new POBO is hired. Michael Conforto and Noah Syndergaard are free agents, and the team not only has to decide if they want to extend the qualifying offer, but they also need to see if they want to re-sign them. Marcus Stroman cannot be offered the qualifying offer, but the team does need to figure out if they want to keep him (they should).

This is a team who needs to fill vacancies at third base, and they need to complete their rotation. With Jeurys Familia and Aaron Loup being free agents, they need to build the bullpen. The team needs another outfielder, and they need to see if they are going to keep Javier Baez. There really is just too much to do for the Mets to wait for a new POBO.

Yes, you want a POBO making these decisions, but you can’t sit around and not make key organizational decisions until that person is hired. There is no sense not permitting the 2022 Mets to be as good as they can possibly be because they didn’t hire a POBO.

There is far too much at stake this offseason. Sitting around and doing nothing means the Mets will remain third best in the division, and in all likelihood, it puts them in a position where they are forced to rebuild. The problem is what’s here is a solid enough core to win a World Series. The Mets cannot sit on their hands and wait. Like it or not, Sandy Alderson has to take reins and operate as the POBO until one is hired.

No, it’s not what Mets fans necessarily wanted to hear, but it’s the truth of the matter. The sad, frustrating, and irritating truth.

Luis Rojas A Convenient Fall Guy For Mets

It was never set up for Luis Rojas to succeed as the manager of the New York Mets. With his firing, which is what happened when the Mets didn’t pick up his option, it was deemed Rojas did not succeed.

In 2020, he took over a team after Carlos Beltran was forced out without managing a game. He had to take over a team in Spring Training with a coaching staff he didn’t assemble, and by the way, a once in a century pandemic hit.

That season didn’t go as hoped. Noah Syndergaard needing Tommy John and Marcus Stroman opting out probably ended that season before it began.

Entering this season, there were massive expectations, and understandably so given the ownership change and Francisco Lindor trade. That said, the cards would be stacked against Rojas a bit.

Unless you count his two late September appearances as an opener, Syndergaard didn’t start a game. Carlos Carrasco didn’t pitch until July 30, and he was rushed.

The injuries really were the story and the problem. Of course, the biggest injury was Jacob deGrom. In the midst of what was his best year, he went down.

Michael Conforto had COVID, got hurt, and faltered. Lindor struggled to adjust, and when he did, he got hurt. At one point, there were so many injures, James McCann had to play first base for a stretch.

Keep in mind, the Mets entered the season without a third baseman or left fielder. Dominic Smith can hit (when he wasn’t playing through injuries like he did all year) and he can play a terrific first, but he’s just not a left fielder.

This was the year where ReplaceMets were a thing. Patrick Mazeika and Brandon Drury were getting plate appearances in big spots (because there was no other options), and they were delivering.

Eventually, the replacements to the replacements got hurt. Eventually, the dam had to break.

Despite everything, Rojas had the Mets in first place at the trade deadline by 3.5 games. At various times, even if it was just in passing, he was mentioned as a potential Manager of the Year.

The pitching was on fumes, and the best the Mets could do at the trade deadline was Trevor Williams. The Mets thought so highly of him, he was immediately assigned to Syracuse.

Eventually, the magic touch wore off, but then again, when Albert Almora is on your bench, you don’t need magic; you need a miracle. There were no miracles forthcoming.

We saw the cracks in the team. The offense who shifted from Chili Davis to Hugh Quattlebaum never clicked. The barren upper levels of the minors leagues left behind by Brodie Van Wagenen haunted the team. Ultimately, there were just too many injuries which probably should’ve been expected a year after the 2020 COVID impacted season.

There were embarrassments like the first Mets GM Jared Porter being fired for harassment. The next, Zack Scott, took a leave of absence after his DUI arrest during the season. While not of the same vein, there was the Javier Báez-Lindor thumbs down drama.

At some point, the team we all thought would win the World Series became a flat out bad team. They’d set a record by being in first place for as long as they did only to finish under .500.

Yes, during this time, Rojas made some bizarre moves. While the focus was on that, his successes were overlooked, downplayed, or not acknowledged. That’s unfortunate.

What’s also unfortunate was after what was only one full season, Rojas was fired. He never got the opportunity to learn and grow as a manager. He didn’t get to build on the things he did well.

Instead, he’s out as manager.

With the collapse, this was obviously coming. After all, Sandy Alderson wasn’t going to fire himself for punting the trade deadline and having his big time hires blow up in his face.

Between the need for a fall guy and the Mets pursuing a new president of baseball operations, Rojas was as good as gone. After all, the new POBO would want his own guy as manager.

The end result was Rojas losing his job as manager. It’s unfortunate because he never really had a chance. It’s very likely he will get that chance somewhere else, and he will very likely do well.

Until then, it’s incumbent on the Mets to prove they did the right thing. If Rojas’ all too brief tenure is any lesson, that stats and ends with building your roster because no manager, no matter how good, is going to be able to win without two regular players, shallow pitching depth, and all those injuries.