The Mets have found their new manager in Luis Rojas, an analytically savvy coach with an impressive family lineage.
After becoming entangled into the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal, the New York Mets were once again looking for a manager this off-season. Carlos Beltran stepped down from the job after it became clear what his role was in stealing signs with the Astros, just three months after accepting the job.
A week later and the Mets are expected to announce current quality control coach Luis Rojas as their new manager, a move that feels like as seamless of a resolution possible for an awkward situation.
The jokes are always too easy with the Mets, having now hired their first two Latino managers in team history over the course of four months, but Rojas by all accounts is a promising, talented young manager. He’s worked within the Mets system for over 14 seasons and was a manager from 2011-2018, managing a large chunk of the Mets current core like NL Rookie of the Year Pete Alonso.
With Spring Training only a few weeks away, the Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen knew he needed someone that was familiar with this group and could somewhat pick up where Beltran had left off. He explained his reason for the hire to Anthony DiComo from MLB.com:
“He’s someone that the organization knew extremely well, and he’s someone that the players knew extremely well. When it came to this unfortunate circumstance, we didn’t want to change the values that we outlined for ourselves in the initial process. 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.”
Rojas also has the respect of his peers, winning Baseball America’s Best Managerial Candidate three times during his time in the minor leagues. And while the name Rojas may throw people off, he’s actually the son of former player and manager Felipe Alou.
Of course, that makes six-time All-Star Moises Alou his half-brother, growing up watching his father manage Montreal Expo games with his brother from the bench clearly made an impact on the young Rojas.
The new Mets manager actually got his name from a “paperwork glitch”, according to Nathalie Alonso of MLB.com, but despite a different last name, Rojas is a part of Dominican baseball royalty.
What makes Rojas the right hire for the Mets has little to do with who his dad is or that he grew up watching Pedro Martinez pitch or Larry Walker take at-bats, it’s that few know this current crop of Mets talent better than he does. And having that year of working as the teams’ quality control coach should give him a leg up on lineup construction and bullpen decisions.
Despite the frantic state of the team, plugging in Rojas as the Mets manager this season makes plenty of sense. And while it’s unlikely Van Wagenen is even planning this far ahead, but Buster Olney did throw out the idea of the Mets pursuing someone like A.J. Hinch next season should things go poorly for Rojas in 2020. With Rojas’ pedigree and familiarity with the club, odds are on him being able to find some version of success.