Had the Mets found themselves in the playoffs following their August collapse and a brief late-season surge that restored hope for a few weeks, some of the deficiencies that led to their demise might have been swept under the rug a bit.
But with the Mets set to be at home once again in October, following a season where there was turmoil in the front office and underperformance on the field, they will enter the offseason with a ton of huge decisions to make.
Here are five of them...
How will the front office be reshaped?
This offseason, the Mets will attempt to do what they couldn't do last offseason -- find a new head of baseball operations.
As SNY's Andy Martino has reported, there are not many legitimate candidates for the position, and the process could again be hampered depending on how willing some teams are to allow their executives to interview.
But the expectation is that the Mets will find a new top baseball exec, which would allow Sandy Alderson (if he remains) to do the non-baseball role he was initially hired for.
The GM situation is also up in the air, with acting GM Zack Scott having been placed on administrative leave following his arrest on DUI charges.
And it's fair to believe that the new president of baseball operations will want to choose his or her GM.
Is Luis Rojas' Mets tenure over?
When discussing modern field managers, it's always important to understand that their responsibilities go well beyond what happens on the field.
And for Rojas, he has aced the job when it comes to being the daily public face of the Mets in front of the media, being communicative with his players, being accountable, being calm in the face of adversity off the field but fiery on the field when needed, and being thoughtful in his explanations.
As far as the on-field component, which is obviously big, Rojas stumbled a bit late in the season after being mostly solid for most of the year.
Those stumbles included a string of late-game moves (some involving pitching changes and pinch-hitting decisions) that either backfired or made little sense -- and some odd after-the-fact reasoning that went along with them.
While the front office is reshaped above him, the call on Rojas' Mets future will be an interesting one.
The qualifying offer conundrum
The Mets have decisions to make on more than half of their roster, and there are lots of key players who can walk as free agents.
And the Mets, if they so choose, could extend the QO to both of them.
If the Mets are basing most of their decisions on the body of work Conforto and Syndergaard have put together during their careers and not just on 2021, it's a no-brainer to extend the QO to both of them.
In the case of Syndergaard, it would be a bit of a shock if he rejected the QO. And his presence in the rotation in 2022 could be a game-changer.
The situation with Conforto (whom the Mets had interest in extending before the season) isn't as cut and dry. Given the strength of the free agent class of position players, it wouldn't be a total shock after his uneven season if he accepted a QO as well and hit the market again in a year. But I'd bet on Conforto rejecting it.
How to deal with the Jacob deGrom question mark
Regardless of the words you use to describe the injury to deGrom's right elbow (specifically his UCL), here are the facts...
His 2021 season, which was on track to be one of the most dominant pitching seasons in the history of the sport, was derailed because of the injury
DeGrom suffered a setback when initially trying to return and was shut down
While deGrom and the Mets are saying his UCL is not compromised, it will be impossible to know how healthy he will be in 2022 until he is out there pitching every fifth day
With Syndergaard and Marcus Stroman free agents and with no ace-level pitching prospects close to the majors, the last thing the Mets needed was a giant question mark surrounding deGrom. But that's what they have.
One step toward shoring up the rotation would be extending the QO to Syndergaard, and another would be re-signing Stroman.
And as the Mets head toward 2022 with deGrom's health still in question and the team intent on competing for a championship, how they fill out the rotation will be among the biggest things to watch.
Should Javier Baez be re-signed?
The Mets' offense heading into the offseason is unsettled, and there's a chance there will be lots of turnover and some new faces in the starting lineup come 2022.
Should Baez be brought back?
New York's offense as a whole was putrid in 2021, and the issues the team had with runners in scoring position were glaring.
And while a hitter like Baez with so much swing-and-miss in his game is not an ideal fit for a lineup that has trouble with situational hitting, it can be argued that he is a strong fit overall for what the team needs -- especially if they reshape the offense elsewhere, and especially if Baez's new plate discipline is something he can sustain.
Specifically, what Baez costs you with his strikeout tendencies can be made up for with his power, speed, base running ability, and defense.
Baez will be entering his age-29 season in 2022, and there will be plenty of other options on the market, including Kris Bryant.
But it has to be tempting for the Mets to picture Baez and Francisco Lindor up the middle for years to come.