Luis Rojas: Evaluating His First Managerial Season in the Big Apple

While the New York Mets didn’t perform well last season, Luis Rojas managed to make a very favorable impression on several evaluators both within and outside of the Mets’ organization.

As stated by Ron Darling, “The Mets are the most talented team (in MLB) that didn’t make the playoffs.” But Luis Rojas has little to be blamed for. The Mets saw a manager who formed a strong bond with his team, much of it based on his communication with individual players, addressing issues openly and honestly.

In contrast, former Mets manager Mickey Callaway lacked communication. Many people also saw a young manager who never seemed overwhelmed by the moment, either as an in-game decision-maker or in answering for so much under-performance by his team.

Is Luis Rojas the one to blame for the Mets 2020 season?

Luis Rojas can only do so much, especially in his first year. There is also only so much a manager can do to help their pitchers. The Mets starting rotation was supposed to be the best and it turned out to be one of the worst, and that is with DeGrom pitching at a Cy-Young level. Instead, the Mets’ front-office should be at blame. Luckily, there has been and there will be front-office changes this offseason. One of these changes can be a new manager, but it is likely that Rojas stays.

Like many Mets fans may be disappointed in Rojas, he actually did what was asked. He carried out lineup decisions from a tiny analytics team, executed standard in-game adjustments, avoided media meltdowns, and maintained relationships with his players and bosses. It was a solid year for a rookie skipper who only learned of his new job title a few weeks before spring training and navigated an unprecedented pandemic baseball season.

Mets players are very fond of Rojas, and it would be silly to move on from him.“When you have a manager like Luis, you want to run through a wall for him,” Dominic Smith said. Nimmo also said on the last day of the season that “Luis has been great.” Nimmo said that “This has been such a weird year, and I think he handled it with grace and so I’m very very proud. To be able to deal with all this and hold us all together and keep us pushing forward, he’s been very good.”

Luis Rojas Background

Rojas has been with the Mets organization since 2007 but hasn’t spent a lot of time in the big leagues. In 2007, he was a coach for the Dominican Summer League Mets. The next year he was a coach for the Gulf Coast League Mets. He became a coach for the Savannah Sand Gnats in 2010 but transferred back to manage the Gulf Coast League Mets in 2011.

On his return to Savannah from 2012 through 2014, Rojas won the 2013 South Atlantic League championship. He also won Manager of the Year the following season. Afterward, Rojas became the manager for the St. Lucie Mets and led them to the top of their division. Rojas met tons of current Mets players in the minors as he also coached the Rumble Ponies. Lastly, before he was named manager in 2020, he was the Mets quality control coach.

Do the Mets Move On?

Mets’ new owner, Steve Cohen, is now under control. He likely moves on from incumbent Brodie Van Wagenen and elects a new GM. Sandy Alderson will also have a big say in who the new GM is. Alderson and Rojas first crossed paths in the minors when Rojas coached and eventually managed the Savannah Sand Gnats of the South Atlantic League. With their relationship, it is very unlikely that Anderson will move on from Rojas if he is elected general manager.

Rojas has been described as someone who gets along with everyone. With this characteristic, Rojas seems to fit with any GM. There is a possibility that Cohen prefers to starts anew. But it is so hard to move on from a guy who has been in the organization for so long.

 

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