The Mets have their man, and as they say – the third time’s a charm. He’d better be because a lot is riding on the shoulders of Luis Rojas…
The Mets didn’t waste any time on this go-around to hire a new manager. There was no charade of scouring the baseball world with invitations to stop by for an interview. No “narrowing down” the field after that, either.
The Mets Go For Pedigree
In Rojas, the Mets have a man who, in the vernacular of baseball, has paid his dues. Fitting the mold of baseball’s trend toward young managers, Rojas will be 39, and probably going on 60 by the end of the season.
Anyone who followed baseball in the 1970s and ’80s is more than familiar with the Alou family. Oddly though, for most of us, Rojas’s attachment to the Alou’s is a surprise.
Luis Rojas, as a major league ballplayer, turned out to be the runt of the family. But he found his niche in coaching and managing. Ever curious and always asking questions, whether or not he knew where his life was going, others did know.
Rojas: The Long And Winding Road
The Mets hired Rojas back in 2011 to manage their lowest level minor league team. He was promoted to Class A Savannah, where he stayed for three seasons before he was again promoted in 2015.
Two seasons with the Mets A+ team at St. Lucie earned another promotion to Double-A Binghamton for another two-year stint that ended when the Mets brought Rojas into their front office last year.
Some will say Luis Rojas is the man the Mets should have hired to replace Mickey Callaway and not Carlos Beltran. But if you believe in fate, well there you go as Rojas jumps into the fire known as the New York Mets.
The press conference introducing Rojas on Friday had all the talking points we have become familiar with hearing. Communication skills trumped all of them, but there appeared to be a natural easiness about Rojas that engenders the belief it can all be true.
To be sure, the Mets deserve a break. The episode with Beltran hit the organization like a ton of Citi Field bricks.
Pete Alonso: “He’s a great, great fit.”
Whereas Carlos Beltran was in a “get to know ya” mode with Mets players, Rojas has a built-in dual relationship with many of the current Mets.
I believe the total is thirteen Mets who played for Rojas at one time or another as they were making their way to the majors. Included are Jacob deGrom, Brandon Nimmo, Pete Alonso, Steven Matz, and Jeff McNeil.
Alonso went as far as to approach GM Brodie Van Wagenen at the Mets FanFest to put in a good word. Alonso expanded on his thoughts with SNY-TV:
Mets Are Flying High
As Spring Training approaches, the Mets are a team oozing with confidence and a positive culture.
The echoes from the home run Dominic Smith hit to close out the season on that final day against the Braves is still roaring as a reminder that – “Hey, we can do this.”
This time, the Mets and more significantly, the players know what they are getting with Luis Rojas. And that, all by itself, is a progression the organization had to make this time around – the third time and the charm.