When looking back on the Mets' disappointing 2021 season, there are a few factors that played a role in their collapse.
For starters, ace pitcher Jacob deGrom went down with an elbow injury, which prematurely ended his season in mid-July.
And the Mets' "stacked" lineup never came around due to a poor approach offensively and a number of disappointing campaigns from several proven hitters.
But according to a few players on the team, there was another aspect that hurt the Mets this year. And it was their lack of having one true leader in the clubhouse.
"I think that's probably the one guy we might've been missing this year, is the [guy who says] 'OK, that's enough, it's time to get down to business,'" left-handed reliever Aaron Loup told Devin Gordon of ESPN. "Because we all know everybody's trying, and you always get the rah-rah, 'next game, you got this' stuff. But at some point you need, 'OK, enough. It's time to go, now.'"
Not only did the 33-year-old veteran Loup say it, but Jeff McNeil echoed this sentiment as well.
"We don't really have one guy who's getting after people," McNeil told Gordon down the final stretch of the season. "Maybe it's something we do need. ... I've never really had that on the Mets. Three or four years, I've never really had that."
While Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso have been recognized as the two most vocal members in the Mets' clubhouse, these comments from their teammates are a bit of an indictment of now former manager Luis Rojas.
Rojas was commended for his poise and even-keel attitude no matter the situation, however, the Mets have a young team who probably would've benefited from being pushed more during certain points in the season.
Especially throughout the final two months of the year, where they lost their 103 day first place lead in the NL East. With their backs against the wall, the Mets failed to show up numerous times and were rarely able to bounce back after getting knocked down.
In early-August, the Mets had their first place lead on the line and got swept by the Phillies on the road. After sweeping the last place Nationals to give their sinking playoff hopes some life, they went 2-11 against the Dodgers and Giants to pretty much demolish their postseason odds.
Regardless, a seven-game winning streak got them back in it by Labor Day, but they went 4-4 on the road against the lowly Nationals and Marlins.
The Braves stumbled down the stretch, but the Mets couldn't gain enough ground in the division.
Even still, the Mets had a shot to steal the No. 2 Wild Card spot in mid-September. Their last opportunity came after they took two out of three from the Yankees on the 20th anniversary weekend of 9/11. But unfortunately, they lost five straight to the Cardinals and Phillies, which slammed the door shut on their season.
The Mets just never seemed to respond from poor stretches, which caused them to spiral at several periods in the final two months of the season.
So, when looking at new managerial candidates to replace Rojas, the Mets should strongly consider someone who is going to lead with their voice and by example.
As previously mentioned, this is a young team who could probably use an extra push here or there, especially when facing adversity. The Mets must make a hire who is capable of commanding the room.
Although there was a lot of talk that the Mets were a tight group that stayed together throughout the year, they ultimately fell apart after the trade deadline, which resulted in another losing season.