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Mets Win Home Finale; Was It Finale For The Manager?

George Napiltano/ Latino Sports

Flushing. NY- At Citi Field Thursday evening it was usual pre game business for Mets manager Luis Rojas prior to the season home finale. Rojas conducted usual rounds on the field and the lineup was in his back pocket.

The prevailing question to Rojas was his status as a lame duck manager. With three games remaining, of what has been another losing season for the Mets, there is every reason to assume Rojas was managing his last game at Citi Field.

Putting this in perspective is easy to understand. Rojas and the Mets held first place for 103 days. They also became the first MLB team with longevity of being on top and finishing with a losing record.

They always say, though, failure is attributed to the manager. In this case, Rojas can also be a victim of circumstance because the Mets are expected to hire a new baseball director of operations to determine if Sandy Alderson assumes the role of general manager.

So a new regime in all probability will put a new manager in place. But, when the season concludes, Sunday in Atlanta, it will be the Braves once again with a fourth straight NL East division title and heading to the postseason.

The Mets are expected to make changes. As soon as Monday, Rojas is expected as the first to go. The busy offseason of more changes will begin because this was a season of disappointment at Citi Field.

And that next home game at Citi Field will hopefully be March 31, 2022, pending of course on the status of a new collective bargaining agreement between players and owners.

Rojas, after the Mets won their 12-3 home finale over the last place Marlins, greeted and embraced his team as they left their home field for a final time in 2021. His team finished the home campaign at Citi Field, 47-34, the Mets third home winning season in three of the last four years. But the Mets will finish with a losing record for the fourth time in five years.

So, yes, success for Rojas at Citi Field. But also put into account the 60-game truncated pandemic season of 2020 that went as a success at Citi Field in the record books.

“Things could have been better for us but I’m proud of the guys,” Rojas said as the media approached him about a possible managerial finale at Citi Field.

Rojas got around the question. It was obvious he did not want this to conclude on a losing note. He has been a part of the Mets organization 16 years in roles as a minor league manager and appointed quality control coach in 2019.

And to his credit, the Mets stayed with slim playoff hopes until last week when they were eliminated, but it could have been different if there were more wins since the All-Star break.

There could have been more hopes for a Mets postseason had Jacob deGrom, the two-time NL Cy Young Award winner, not gone down with soreness to his right elbow. And the season did not live up to expectations for Francisco Lindor acquired during the offseason from the Cleveland Indians.

Bill Menzel/ Latino Sports

In the home finale, Lindor continued a strong second half. hit his fourth career grand slam and ninth in the month of September.

“We got to have a front office,” Lindor said about expectations for next year. “I know we have Sandy, but we didn’t have a GM from the beginning.”

Jared Porter and Zack Scott both were relieved of their GM positions and the turmoil of a Mets front office was a major distraction . Porter was dismissed for sexual harassment allegations.  Scott was arrested for a DWI and is awaiting a court date.

In turn, Alderson assumed the interim GM responsibilities and could stay in that position. Those are matters that will be addressed soon and owner Steve Cohen will be involved in the process of reshaping the front office.

Lindor and his 10-year $340 million contract will be the focus of the Mets franchise and a second half of production is hoped for next year. As he said, it comes down to the players doing their part.

Decisions also will be made about the future of Javier Baez and signing him to a long term deal, along with Michael Conforto who could have also played his last game at Citi Field after hitting a pair of two-run singles.

“It comes down to the players,” Lindor said. “ I gotta get better at base running All aspects of the game. There is a lot to be done to be a championship team. It starts with the front office from the top down. At the end of the day, you learn from it and move forward.”

Pete Alonso, a Latino Sports NL Rookie of The Year MVP recipient, had another multi- home run game and is also a part of this equation and future of the Mets to go forward.

But at the end of the day, the Mets had a disappointing season. A fan base will hope for better and Francisco Lindor has shown he can be the spark to do it.

Rich Mancuso: Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

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