In the aftermath of team president Sandy Alderson’s comments about his future on Wednesday, Mets manager Luis Rojas looked as relaxed before Thursday night’s Citi Field finale as he did on his first day on the job.
If this was Rojas’ final home game as Mets manager – Alderson said he would decide Rojas’ fate soon after the season ends on Sunday – the 40-year-old did not show any signs of strain or worry before the Mets’ 12-3 victory over Miami.
Rich Hill went five innings for his first victory as a Met, Francisco Lindor hit a grand slam, Pete Alonso slugged two home runs and was robbed of a third, and Michael Conforto had three hits and two RBIs in what could be his final home game as a Met.
Conforto, a pending free agent, told SNY in a pregame interview: "The emotions are there. I had a little trouble sleeping last night, if I’m being completely honest. There’s been so much that’s happened here. It’s been a wild ride."
Conforto got a standing ovation after a diving catch for the second out of the ninth inning.
Rojas is 102-117 in two seasons at the helm. He was plucked out of relative obscurity to replace Carlos Beltran after Beltran’s hiring as manager was rescinded following the revelation of his role in the Astros sign-stealing scandal.
Rojas, who was given a two-year contract with an option for 2022, guided the Mets to a 26-34 record in the shortened 2020 season. The 2021 Mets are 76-83.
Asked before the game what he would like to be remembered for if this was his final home game as Mets manager, Rojas said: "We don’t know, yet, right? We have to get there first and find out what’s going to happen. I enjoyed my time here the last two years, being the manager. It’s been fun every day just working with the guys and connecting with them and preparing. We haven’t achieved what we wanted to achieve, but first of all, the atmosphere in the clubhouse has been, for me, one of the most important things that I can think of these last two years here, and how everyone gets along in the clubhouse, how everyone just prepares and gets ready to play to go out there. Even though we haven’t gotten the result, that’s the one thing I want to single out, that it’s been pretty special with both groups, last year’s group and this year . . . But as far as what you said before, we have to wait and see what happens in that situation."
Alderson said that what’s going to happen is he wants to make a decision on the current manager and coaching staff "as soon after the season as possible." Alderson dropped a pretty easy-to-read bread crumb about how it may end for Rojas.
"I’m big on process. But ultimately, results matter," Alderson said. "And if you don’t have good results over a period of time, then the process may not survive. So I’m appreciative of all of those positives that have been mentioned over the course of the year — you know, Luis’ relationship with the players, etc. But, ultimately, we have to be governed to some extent not just by the process and by what goes into the results, but the results themselves."
The results were awesome on Thursday in front of a crowd of 24,312. The Mets trailing 3-2, scored four runs in the fourth and added six in the eighth to finish with a home record of 47-34.
Alonso had solo homers in the second and eighth and was robbed of a three-run homer in the fourth on a leaping catch in center by Magneuris Sierra. Alonso has 37 home runs.
Lindor’s grand slam came in the eighth. It was his 20th home run and ninth in September.