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Will Luis Rojas shake the stigma of having been Mets manager?

FILE - New York Mets manager Luis Rojas

FILE - New York Mets manager Luis Rojas checks on Jeff McNeil after McNeil was hit by a pitch during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins in New York, in this Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021, file photo. Luis Rojas was let go as manager of the New York Mets on Monday, Oct. 4, 2021, after two losing seasons. The team declined its option on Rojas' contract for 2022, making the announcement a day after finishing third in the NL East at 77-85 in Steve Cohen's first year of ownership. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File) Credit: AP/Frank Franklin II

We are a stat-heavy baseball nation now.

So on the occasion of the Mets’ decision Monday not to pick up manager Luis Rojas’ 2022 contract option, we offer you this stat:

With one exception, no Mets manager has been hired by another club to manage after he finished his Mets tenure since the Montreal Expos named Jeff Torborg their skipper in 2001.

From Dallas Green to Mickey Callaway, the Mets employed seven managers from 1993 until Rojas was hired in haste before the 2020 season to replace Carlos Beltran (who never managed a game for the team and thus is not included in this grouping).

The rest of the lineup: Bobby Valentine, Art Howe, Willie Randolph, Jerry Manuel, Terry Collins.

The only one to get a big-league managing job after he cleaned out his desk at Shea Stadium or Citi Field was Valentine. He had one disastrous year in Boston (going 69-93 in 2012), never managed again, and today is running for mayor of Stamford, Connecticut.

Is it something about the Mets experience that makes their former managers virtually unhireable after they depart Flushing?

Or is it something about the managers the Mets choose in the first place?

We ask this question today because of something the always astute Ron Darling said over the weekend about Rojas.

"I just hope with Luis," Darling said, "you don’t lose a Francona here."

In baseball, the idea of letting a young manager go and then watching him blossom into a great manager is personified by Terry Francona, who bombed with the Phillies before breaking the curse with the Red Sox and having great success in Cleveland, too.

In football, Bill Belichick is the oft-stated example of this phenomenon. He was a disaster in Cleveland and then won six Super Bowls with the Patriots, although a guy named Brady may have had a lot to do with that.

You can ask the question about Rojas because he is only 40 years old, is really smart, comes from a great baseball family and is, by every account, a truly good person.

As Mets owner Steve Cohen wrote in a tweet on Monday (because how else would he communicate on an important topic?): "Want to thank Luis for his work as a manager. He is a good man who represented the Mets with dignity and calm during two extremely trying years."

What is not clear after two years running the Mets — one of them the COVID-shortened 2020 season — is whether Rojas is a good manager.

His record is 103-119. In 2020, the Mets failed to make an expanded playoff field, which is kind of unforgivable when you consider the Marlins made it with a 31-29 record (sandwiched between two full seasons with 105 and 95 losses, respectively). So it’s not as if you had to be a super-team.

This year, the Mets were in first place for 103 days and finished at 77-85. Rojas gets full credit for the fast start, but he looked like a deer in the headlights as things fell apart.

Rojas lacked the force of personality to stem the tide when the losing began. Like Big Apple dugout counterpart Aaron Boone, Rojas chose to express nothing but confidence that his players would figure it out. Only one of them was correct.

Rojas appeared to have the support of his players. Why wouldn’t he when he was a Mr. Softee publicly, as most managers are today?

Francisco Lindor — who it’s possible has had more direct contact with Cohen than Rojas did — said on Sunday: "It was fun playing for him. He’s relatively young as a manager. I come from Tito [Francona] — completely different ways of managing, and I like him. I like him a lot. He brings a lot to the game . . . He’s very even-keeled. There’s not a lot of emotions from his part. But I’m sure he’s looking forward to continuing to learn and get better as a manager."

Forget becoming the next Francona. Will Rojas even get another chance to manage elsewhere?

Mets history over the last three decades says no. That’s the first trend Rojas has to buck before he makes the Mets regret their decision.

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