Posted on January 22, 2020, by Bryan Zarpentine
The New York Mets were thrown for a loop when first-time manager Carlos Beltran was forced to walk away for his involvement in the Houston Astros cheating schedule. Suddenly tasked with finding a new manager less than a month before the start of spring training, the Mets looked inward. Wednesday, the club settled on Luis Rojas as their new manager. Rojas will get a two-year deal to manage the Mets with multiple club options to retain him beyond that.
The 38-year-old Rojas was one of many candidates the Mets interviewed before giving the job to Beltran. He’s been a part of the Mets organization since 2008 when he served as a coach for the team’s Gulf Coast League affiliate. He worked his way up through the farm system, ultimately managing at the double-A level in 2017 and 2018. Rojas spent the 2019 season serving as the quality control coach for the Mets, spending time with both the coaching staff and front office.
“I think it’s the fit. It’s where the team is. I think it’s the culture we’re trying to create,” Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen said of Rojas. “He has a good finger on the pulse of this team.”
One thing nobody can deny is that Rojas has been around baseball his entire life. He’s the son of former major league player and manager Felipe Alou and the half-brother of longtime big league outfielder Moises Alou. Rojas goes by a different last name to match his birth certificate. While Felipe and Moises used Alou, the surname of Felipe’s mother, Rojas is the true surname of the family. Regardless of the name being used, he and Felipe will now become the sixth father-son pair to both manage in the majors.
“He has literally trained his whole life to be a manager,” said Van Wagenen. “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, [with] his ability to lead our team now.”
By choosing a manager who’s already a part of the organization, the Mets are able to minimize the impact of an unexpected managerial change. The club isn’t expected to make any changes to the coaching staff already lined up to serve under Beltran. Also, Rojas is familiar with most of the players in the organization, managing several of the minors.
“He’s someone that the organization knew extremely well, and he’s someone that the players knew extremely well,” says Van Wagenen. “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.”
To their credit, the Mets have made the best out of a bad situation. While Rojas is the second-youngest manager in the majors, he has a resume that makes him qualified for the job. In addition to being raised in a family that’s respected throughout baseball, he’s been a part of the Mets organization for over a decade. New York has managed to maintain as much continuity as possible after parting ways with Beltran. Rojas is as good of a choice as anybody the Mets could have hired this close to the season.