The Mets and, in particular, their GM Brodie Van Wagenen heard the drumbeat building for Luis Rojas. He succumbed, and he better have gotten it right…
The Mets, only a month ago, were basking in the glory of uncovering the “right man for the job” to replace the exiled Mickey Callaway.
Advertised by the Mets as a man of integrity and excellent communication skills, Carlos Beltran looked and fit the bill as the leader the team needed to not only compete but to win the NL East title in 2020.
Events interceded, however, leaving the Mets in search of their fourth manager in two-and-a-half years.
More significantly, Brodie Van Wagenen has swung and missed twice with his hirings, and as we all know, in baseball, it’s three strikes, and you’re out.
Several reports, including this one from ESPN, indicate the Mets have made their selection.
On the surface, Van Wagenen has played it safe by choosing Luis Rojas, with whom he has no direct ties or relationship.
Rojas is a “Mets Guy” who has been with the organization for more than nine years.
Rojas managed the Binghamton Rumble Ponies in 2017 and 2018. The Mets named him to their major league coaching staff as the quality control coach for the 2019 season.
No doubt, he was a man on the move.
Mets’ Van Wagenen And The Approaching Footsteps
Van Wagenen, who has to be hearing the footsteps of Mets owner-to-be Steve Cohen behind him, is fully aware that Cohen sees this hiring as Brodie’s SAT Test scores before acceptance into college.
This is not to suggest that Luis Rojas is a wrong choice and will drag the Mets down instead of bringing them up. No one can say, and it’s best to leave the future aside.
This is to say, though, that Van Wagenen could have gone in another direction. Mets fans recall there was pressure on the Mets and Van Wagenen to “go with experience” this time, having been twice-burned by Callaway and Beltran.
Experience? – Not So Much
Dusty Baker and Buck Showalter immediately rose to the forefront, and sure enough, the Houston Astros interviewed Baker. After which, Baker effused his attraction to the beleaguered franchise also in search of someone to replace fallen AJ Hinch.
Instead, from all accounts, the search never ventured into this realm, especially once the media drumbeat for Rojas accelerated in the New York media.
After all, the Mets have been through, even rival fans having a heartbeat should be issuing the 38-year-old Rojas the best, at least for the courage he has for stepping into the hive when the queen bee is in an ornery mood.
Mets: It’s More About Brodie
Rojas has a baseball pedigree in his blood that can’t be denied. His dad is Felipe Alou. An explanation for the name anomaly is Rojas, because he was born in the Dominican, is referred to with the patronymic surname.
Therefore, much like Don Zimmer and Terry Collins, Rojas is one of those “baseball lifers” who will likely have a life after death if his appointment fails.
The same cannot be said for Brodie Van Wagenen. His tenure with the Mets is sketchy at best. J.D. Davis does not make up for Jeurys Familia, Robinson Cano, and Edwin Diaz.
The Mystery Man
When any enterprise changes ownership as the Mets see in the transition of Fred Wilpon to Steve Cohen, the new sheriff almost always wants his team and those he knows and trusts supporting him.
Cohen wants winners on his team, and if Brodie Van Wagenen proves himself, he makes the grade.
Van Wagenen has cast his line in with Luis Rojas. He thinks he’s safe because he’s selected “the company, man.”
But you know what, Brodie? Steve Cohen’s “company” is yet to be formed, and all that has preceded him is of no consequence – to him.
Mets fans have no choice but to root for the new kid on the block, Luis Rojas. I will, too.
But behind the scenes, there is a drama playing out that is only beginning.
Brodie Van Wagenen has called for a lifeline, and Luis Rojas answered the call. As much as the Nationals, Braves, and Phillies – that dynamic will remain a conclusive backdrop on the 2020 season…