The New York Mets need to act quickly to replace Carlos Beltran and Luis Rojas represents the team’s best and only option to fill the role.
The New York Mets have been backed into a corner by the Houston Astros scandal. They had to fire Carlos Beltran due to his involvement in the scandal as a player. Now, they’re stuck without a manager just weeks before spring training.
So, it’s interesting that the Mets haven’t moved quickly to replace Beltran. The Astros have already interviewed six candidates for their managerial opening.
The Boston Red Sox have been linked to a number of candidates outside their organization, such as Mets bench coach Hensley Meulens. They’ve also been connected to franchise legend Jason Varitek.
Meanwhile, the Mets haven’t been connected to a single candidate outside of the organization. Both Dusty Baker and Eduardo Perez have been named as potential candidates, but both have stated publicly that they haven’t spoken to the Mets.
Internally, Meulens’s name has surfaced. Some consider him a strong candidate for the job, though he didn’t interview for the job in November.
The one candidate who has gotten a ton of buzz for the position is Mets quality control coach Luis Rojas. He was a finalist for the position back in November and he makes even more sense now.
Who is Luis Rojas?
Luis Rojas is a young up-and-coming manager. At just 38-years-old, Rojas would be the youngest manager in MLB in 2020 if the Mets hired him. Despite his young age, Rojas has eight years of managerial experience in the minor leagues.
Rojas worked his way up the ladder. He began his coaching career with the Nationals in 2006 was a coach on the Dominican summer team. The Mets stole Rojas in 2007 to hold the same position and he’s been in the organization ever since.
He got his first managerial job in 2011 with the Mets rookie ball team the Gulf Coast Mets. In 2012, he was promoted to manager of the A ball Savannah Sand Gnats, now the Columbia Fireflies. He held that position for three years.
In 2015, he was promoted to manager of the A+ ball St. Lucie Mets. He held that position for two years before being promoted to manage the AA ball Binghamton Rumble Ponies in 2017. He held that position for two seasons.
Rojas earned his biggest promotion yet in 2019 when he joined the Mets coaching staff as quality and control coach, a position he did so well in that he earned Robinson Cano’s endorsement for manager in November.
As a quality control coach, it was Rojas’s job to relay analytics from the front office to the players. He had to know the analytics ell enough to be able to break them down simply for the players who often dislike them.
Rojas prides himself on his knowledge of analytics and his ability to blend that with the old-school managerial tactics he learned from his father, Felipe Alou. It’s that skill that drew the Mets to him in the first place. It’s why many in the front office view him as a future manager. They just have to decide if the future is now.
He’s the only option
Luis Rojas is uniquely positioned to land this job. In November, the front office had questions about his age and readiness for the big job. It ended up costing him his first chance at a major league manager job.
That shouldn’t be the case this time around. It’s unlikely that Rojas has answered questions about his readiness in just a few months, but that shouldn’t matter. Spring training starts in just a few weeks and they need someone who can jump in and get things going immediately.
The only candidate who can do that is Rojas. First off, he knows the team unlike anyone else. He was a coach on the team last year, which allowed him to gain major league experience working with veterans, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Rojas has managed 12 of the players on the current roster before, including Jacob deGrom, Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil.
That familiarity with the players is huge. A new manager will have to acclimate to the players on the team, how to run the clubhouse, and each players’ strengths and weaknesses. Rojas wouldn’t need time to acclimate. He already has that knowledge.
Secondly, Rojas knows how the organization is run. He has been a part of the organization for over a decade. He understands the structure. He’s also worked with this front office before and knows how they want to communicate with the manager’s office. A new candidate would need time to learn all those things, time the team doesn’t have.
Lastly, Rojas knows what Beltran’s vision was. Rojas was in all the meetings with Beltran and the front office throughout the offseason. He was learning how to run a team and how to carry out Beltran’s vision of the team.
There isn’t another candidate who would better know how to continue the work Beltran was doing then Rojas. A new candidate would likely want to change things for their vision of the team. As great as that vision might be the New York Mets just don’t have the time to restructure with the season right around the corner.
The stars have aligned for Rojas. He’s the perfect candidate for right now. With time running out every single day there isn’t another candidate who makes as much sense as Luis Rojas.