Luis Rojas’s familiar role with the New York Mets earned him the manager job after Carlos Beltran and the team were forced to part ways.
Welcome, Luis Rojas. The runner-up to Beltran.
From all reports, Rojas is finalizing a multi-year deal to be the next manager. The official word should come Saturday at Citi Field with Mets Fan Fest serving as the backdrop.
They went rapid with the move and had no choice but to get this under control. They were quicker to find a replacement than the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox, who saw their managers dismissed as a direct result of the scandal.
So the damage control, at least for the Mets, has started. Though, Beltran, in the wrong place at the wrong time, has a job ahead of him relating to restoring credibility.
And from the powers that be—MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred—they had to listen, which resulted in the brief and shortest reign for a Mets manager ever.
The Mets had no alternative but to remedy this situation at a rapid pace. Logic, according to a source, had the Mets leaning to an internal candidate. Go with Rojas, which was logical, a second choice to Beltran during that first interview process in November.
Logic, however, may have you believe Mickey Callaway deserved to finish the third and final year of his contract, though general manager Brodie Van Wagenen wouldn’t have it; he wanted his own guy.
Rojas was the choice over bench coach Hensley Meulens and first base coach Tony DeFrancesco, both of whom remain part of the staff.
This was the logical choice all along. Going outside the organization to Buck Showalter, Dusty Baker or Eduardo Perez just didn’t make sense considering every factor. Take into consideration the timing. Also, understanding the need to have somebody take over with internal knowledge so close to the start of spring training.
It came down to 38-year old Rojas, now the second-youngest manager in baseball next to Minnesota Twins skipper Rocco Baldelli.
Last season, he was the outfield instructor and quality-control coach. He brings 13 years to the table as a coach and manager in the Mets’ minor league system. Again, familiarity did play a role here.
So far, it’s all good. All individuals contacted inside and outside of the organization back the idea this was the proper route to go. Mets players, contacted by ESNY, said they were looking forward to working with Rojas.
They know the new manager. One went as far to say, “Rojas changed my game. He was always available and knows where to make the adjustments.”
The consensus was to move forward as quickly as possible. Having a familiarity with the new manager at this juncture was the No. 1 priority.
Luis Rojas does bring that to the table. He knows baseball, The son of Felipe Alou, the former player and manager, is respected and represents a young breed in baseball that believes in analytics.
Indeed, a quick recovery for the Mets, though, to be determined is how Rojas will handle in-game managerial decisions and dealings with the New York media that remain a crucial part of the job.
Beltran was exposed to the same expectations. His popularity and respect did not hurt him at the same time.
“He has literally trained his whole life to be a manager,” Van Wagenen said. “He comes from a legacy family. He is respected by the players. He is trusted by the players. And he’s someone that we have great confidence in.”
Another insider said, “It had to be within and that’s what Brodie had in mind from the beginning of this process. They are in this to win now and Rojas has that ability to lead them now.”
So now this Mets team is in the hands of Luis Rojas. Fans don’t know him and very few in the media has had an opportunity to have that meet and greet.
But he was a valuable part of the coaching staff under Mickey Callaway. On the field, in the video rooms before game time, Luis Rojas was already a players’ type of coach.
The transition to manager will not be difficult. He was already in place.
“He’s someone that the organization knew extremely well and he’s someone that the players know extremely well,” Van Wagenen said. “We wanted to continue the momentum that we have with the work that’s been done in preparation for spring training and we felt like Luis was in a position to be a leader of that group,”
It’s an exciting group that includes Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, Dom Smith and many more of the current Mets who come from their minor league system.
That first time around helped. Now, Luis Rojas has this opportunity. In three weeks, it’s all in his hands in what was supposed to be the new era for Carlos Beltran.
- Comment: [email protected]
- Twitter @Ring786
- Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso