Following the search, hire, and controversial dismissal of Carlos Beltran, the Mets opted to replace him with an in-house candidate and one of the runner-up candidates from their previous search, Luis Rojas.
Having been with the Mets organization since 2011, Rojas has been an organizational mainstay with managing stints with the rookie league, low A Savannah, high A St. Lucie, and AA Binghamton. Throughout that time, he not only became familiar with the front office, other coaches, and the spring training complex, but also got well-acquainted with several prominent players now on the big league club. Rojas managed Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, and Dominic Smith, among others.
Aside from his organizational familiarity, Rojas also brings some impressive baseball pedigree as a member of the illustrious and storied Alou family. He is the son of Felipe Alou and the brother of Moises Alou. Though Rojas only played one season of professional baseball at the rookie level, he has said that his aspirations always lied with coaching. Much younger than Moises, his childhood memories are of his father as a manager and now he’ll have the opportunity to carry on that tradition for a team for which his big brother once played.
Just 38-years-old, Rojas will not only be the youngest managers in Major League Baseball, but he’ll be younger than some relief pitchers and other active players, including future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols. His youth may work to his advantage, allowing him to relate well to young players. Noah Syndergaard has commented about Rojas’ workout regimen and he’ll know doubt be hands on in spring training, taking the field during drills. By all accounts, he’s affable and approachable and being bilingual will certainly help him forge connections in the clubhouse with players like Yoenis Cespedes, Robinson Cano, Edwin Diaz and others.
It may have taken a circuitous and nontraditional path to get to this hire, but handing the reigns over to Rojas may well turn out to be a smart decision for the Mets.