Thursday, January 23, 2020

Mets Turn To Luis Rojas To Provide Stability


The Mets made it official on Thursday night, as they announced that Luis Rojas will be their new manager.

Rojas, 38, takes over one week after Carlos Beltran was dismissed after his role in the Houston Astros sign-stealing operation was revealed.

The Mets turn to Rojas, who had interviewed for the job in October after Mickey Callaway (remember him?) was dismissed at the end of last season, and he was set to continue on in his role as the Quality Control coach after Beltran was hired on November 1.

If you're wondering what Rojas did as the Quality Control Coach - which was newly created for him - the Mets 2019 Media Guide stated he "will be in uniform and served as a conduit between the front office and coaching staff on all issues including game preparation, strategy and analytics."

Rojas, who started coaching in the Mets organization in 2007, received such a unique job based on the fact he climbed the ladder as a coach and manager in the minor leagues, along with some current Mets stars, including Rookie of the Year Pete Alonso.

The first baseman posted on Twitter (@Pete_Alonso20) when the news of Rojas' imminent appointment broke Wednesday afternoon, "Loved having Luis in '17 and '18 as my AA manager! It's awesome playing under him and having him on staff last year as well!!! Super pumped to have him as the Jeffe. Also he throws some damn good bp #LFGM."

Marcus Stroman, who joined the Mets at the trade deadline in late July, tweeted @STRO, as well on Wednesday afternoon, "LUIS ROJAS! Love love love it. Loved being around him on the bench last year. Always teaching and full of knowledge. Super laid back and brings nothing but great vibes each and every day. Beyond even keel. Excited even more for the year! @Mets."

Having Rojas essentially being promoted from Quality Control Coach to Manager will provide stability for the organization and the players. The only other candidate to take over for Beltran, and it's unclear if he even was under consideration, that would have provided the same stability was Terry Collins, who managed the team until 2017, and led the Mets to the National League pennant in 2015.

Rojas' journey through the Mets organization started when he was a coach with their Dominican Summer League team in 2007, followed by two years with the the rookie league Gulf Coast Mets (2008-09) and one with A-level Savannah in 2010 (the Sand Gnats are one level above the Brooklyn Cyclones).

In 2011, Rojas got the chance to manage Gulf Coast Mets, followed by getting the call to take over Savannah  the next season.

For three seasons, from 2012-14, Rojas saw plenty of success with Savannah, as he led them to the South Atlantic League championship in 2013, and was the league's Manager of the Year in 2014.

Rojas then took over the Mets' highest A-level team, the St. Lucie Mets, in 2015 and managed them for two seasons. He led them to the second-half Florida State League South Division title in 2016, which was their first playoff appearance since 2012, and the team's first second-half title since 2007.

At that time, Rojas also led Leones del Escogido to a Dominican Winter League championship in the 2015-16 campaign.

As you may have guessed from Alonso's tweet, Rojas was then promoted to take over the AA Binghamton Rumble Ponies in 2017, and led them to a playoff berth. He also managed there in 2018, a team led by Jeff McNeil, who won its Sterling Award, before making the move to Queens.

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