In a move that surprised no one, the New York Mets fired hitting coach Chili Davis on Monday. With the team’s vaunted lineup of hitters failing to put runs on the board for the past two seasons, it was only a matter of time before it happened. However, Davis wasn’t the only Mets coach on the hot seat. Second-year manager Luis Rojas has been in a precarious situation for a while now. Currently struggling under a new owner who already fired much of the old front office, Rojas’ job security is tenuous at best.
Of the 21 prior Mets managers, 11 were ultimately fired. This includes Rojas’ predecessor Mickey Callaway. Of those 11, seven were fired during the season.
Willie Randolph has the dishonor of being the most recent of these. His Mets were coming off a late-season collapse in 2007 and were starting off 2008 sluggishly. At the time of his release, the Mets were 34-35 and 6.5 games back of first place.
Before that, Dallas Green got the boot in 1996. After failing to build on the momentum of his first three seasons, the Mets’ 59-72 record became the breaking point.
The next removal was Jeff Torborg in 1993. After successfully managing the White Sox, he led the 1992 Mets to a fifth-place finish. He was fired a year later with team at 13-25.
Two years earlier, the Mets removed Bud Harrelson with a week left in the 1991 season. Though he helped lead the Mets to a 91-71 record as replacement manager in 1990, the team squandered its early success in 1991 and sputtered to 74-80 under him.
Coincidentally, it was Davey Johnson, the greatest and most beloved coach in Mets history, who Harrelson replaced. Despite leading the team to a 1986 World Series title and seven-straight winning seasons, starting off 1990 at 20-22 was enough cause for firing.
13 years prior, Joe Frazier was unceremoniously ousted from his position. While the team was great in his first year, going 86-76, they started off horribly in 1977. At 15-30, the decision came easily.
And finally, the first Mets manager to ever get fired was the legendary Yogi Berra. After leading the team to an unexpected World Series berth in 1973, things turned sour in 1974 as they fell to fifth place. In 1975, with the team barely treading water at 56-53, ownership pulled the plug on Berra.
The main takeaway here is that regardless of reputation, past success, era, or ownership, the Mets have never shied away from firing their managers.
If beloved, winning icons like Davey Johnson can be let go after a single slow start, a new guy like Rojas is on an even shorter leash.
Likewise, Rojas’ Mets share a lot in common with some of these prior teams as fellow failed postseason contenders.
Despite lofty expectations, the Mets never found their footing in 2020. Missing the expanded playoffs at 26-34 is a sore point for any manager, let alone a rookie.
Rojas may have earned the benefit of the doubt due to the circumstances around that season, but now he’s running out of excuses. A manager still learning how to properly manage is simply not what a team with World Series aspirations needs right now.
That said, early reports state that Rojas’ job is currently safe. After all, the Mets have only played 23 games. Even at a meager 11-12, Rojas has at least another month to prove his worth as a leader.
If the Mets are still languishing by the end of May, however, suffice it to say that Rojas may find himself out of a job.
Featured Image Courtesy of Anthony J. Causi/New York Post
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