Luis Rojas is a manager and in the spotlight. That unexpected Mets’ vacancy occurred with the departure of Carlos Beltran. Now, sooner than expected, Rojas at 38, becomes the second youngest manager in baseball.
So there was, Rojas at Citi Field Friday afternoon. He put on the jersey with Number 19. Seems like yesterday, Carlos Beltran was doing the same thing.
And this will not be that difficult transition for the Mets. Rojas, was the supposed runner-up to succeed Mickey Callaway. He was the quality control coach last season and that familiarity was a helping hand.
“We got to promote one of our own to be the leader and face of our Major League team,” said GM Brodie Van Wagenen.
Again, it was familiarity with the roster and organization . That leads to optimism and a positive point as to why, Rojas, the 23rd manager in Mets history was a good choice,
Perhaps, Buck Showalter or Dusty Baker would bring that experience as tenured managers and who knows they may have come with a hefty price.
But with little time to spring training, and a coaching staff in place, it made perfect sense for the Mets hierarchy to go this route.
First impressions at his introductory press conference, well there was confidence from the new manager. Thank you to everyone that got him to this level after 13 years in the Mets organization as a coach in their minor league system
Thank you also to his family. His father, Felipe Alou (former player and manager) and Moises, his half brother and one-time player with the Mets.
He learned from them.
“I think every single thing has led to this,” he said. “From conversations with my relatives to the experiences in the Minor Leagues and winter ball. There have been a couple of championships as a manager and a coach. Those are the things that we can employ and use for our team.”
And time will tell, is Luis Rojas the proper choice to take over a Mets team that is expected to contend?
Mets CEO Jeff Wilpon, said the new manager has the skills.
“ Very good skills and he will be an excellent manager,”Mets CEO Jeff Wilpon commented to THENYEXTRA.
It also goes to Rojas’ advantage, knowledge and working with Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, Amed Rosario, and many more of this young Mets core.
He inherits a roster that should contend with three All-Stars, in Alonso, McNei,l and Jacob deGrom the two-time NL Cy Young Award winner.
So this manager will be tested in the first few months. Like Beltran, he will be reviewed and that comes with those daily meetings prior and after a win or loss with the media.
First impression, with notepads and microphones, Luis Rojas was brief and to the point. Dominican born and proud, he went with the flow. Those in game decisions will be determined.
However, a consensus among baseball personnel, including those who have worked with him in the Mets system, all said this day was coming. But this first managerial job came sooner than expected.
“A baseball rat, excellent poise, demeanor and professionalism,” said Tom Gamboa, a former manager with the Brooklyn Cyclones Mets Penn League affiliate.
Gamboa added “I thought he might be Major League material someday but surprised it happened so fast at age 38. Great potential. Only lacks Major League experience but he has managed McNeil, Rosario and Alonso.”
And those words of poise and demeanor, all attributes that remained during this rapid search for a new manager.
Are the Mets in the proper direction with Rojas? He signed a multi-year contract that is assumed to be three years, and that should be ample time to take this team where they want to be.
Mickey Callaway was supposed to be the proper manager to get them there and to a World Series. There was Carlos Beltran with the unfortunate circumstance of a baseball cheating scandal that got in the way.
Now, this Mets team belongs to Luis Rojas. He is expected, as the manager for Brodie Van Wagenen, to be the guide and at the forefront of assuring the Mets get to that championship level.
“I will lead this team into success,” said Rojas.
And of course, time will tell. But we have to give the new Mets manager a chance in the months to come.
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