Nothing makes for a good manager quite like good players. The important thing for fans – and yes, the managers themselves – is to keep this thought in the front of their mind at all times. It brings to mind this famous quote by Bill James on Sparky Anderson:

“He really believes he made a winning team out of Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, George Foster and Davey Concepcion by teaching them the virtues of shiny shoes and clean upper lips.”

Later in life, James offered an olive branch to Anderson. When asked to describe the best thing about Anderson as a manager, James responded, “his record.” And since managers are ultimately judged on wins and losses, it was a nice compliment. You may need good players to have a good record but you also have to be sure not to mess things up. And that’s easier said than done.

Which brings us to Luis Rojas.

Is Rojas a good manager? Beats me although it makes my skin crawl whenever someone, especially those in the mainstream media, make the claim that Rojas is making all of the right moves. It doesn’t matter who your favorite manager is – Anderson or Casey Stengel or Gil Hodges or Earl Weaver or whoever – no one makes all of the right moves. Here’s a partial list of managerial moves – which may or may not be in Rojas’ power to make – that certainly don’t seem “right” 21 games into this weird season:

1. Ultra conservative pitch counts in Jacob deGrom’s first two starts of the season, especially the second one.
2. Using Justin Wilson four times in six days.
3. Taking Brandon Nimmo and his .400+ OBP out of the leadoff spot.
4. Insisting that Amed Rosario bat first against LHP despite his dismal failure to get on base at a reasonable clip both throughout his career and especially here in 2020.
5. Giving starts to Robert Gsellman (2 IP, 3 ER) and Walker Lockett (6 IP, 5 ER) before Seth Lugo.

And here’s a partial listing of managerial moves that were nice to see from Rojas, or whoever was the actual responsible one:

1. Not batting Robinson Cano third as the default position.
2. Removing Edwin Diaz from the closer’s role quickly and moving him to low-leverage spots.
3. Starting on the first day of the season, putting in better defensive players late in the game.
4. Flipping the defensive positions of J.D. Davis and Jeff McNeil.
5. Giving 11 starts to rookie Andres Gimenez and four to veteran Brian Dozier.

Is Rojas a good manager? Beats me. Seems like you can see what you want to see and not be too far from reality. The Mets are 9-12 and maybe that’s what they should be with the injuries and Covid defections they’ve faced.

Going forward, my main concern is that Gimenez remains the starter and Rojas looks for ways to keep Rosario involved, rather than the other way around. It’s also imperative that with a nine or 10-man bullpen that nobody is being used too much. And maybe no one gets used too little, either. With the bullpen regularly asked to give four innings per night, no one should go five days without being used. Finally, no one should envy the decision Rojas has to make if Dominic Smith (1.092 OPS) and Pete Alonso (.715 OPS) continue their current paces.

How would you rate the managerial job of Luis Rojas?

  • One star - only because you can't give a zero (58%, 30 Votes)
  • Three stars (23%, 12 Votes)
  • Four stars (8%, 4 Votes)
  • Two stars (8%, 4 Votes)
  • Five stars - the best! (4%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 52

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9 comments on “Poll: How would you rate the managerial job of Luis Rojas?

  • NYM6986

    A manager makes the best decision they can as the action unfolds. They can not hit or field for a player, nor pitch, nor throw to the right base. I rated Rojas a three only because there is so much unknown about him. A few clutch hits with RISP and their record flops the other direction and his rating goes up. There is no substitute for scoring runs in the same way holding a basketball team to under 100 points, something the Knicks of 40 years ago were famous for doing so, was the way to win games. He knows a lot of the their young players and those at the top minor league levels. Would Girardi have been a safer bet with his winning history? Absolutely. This is essentially a young team where so much has to go right for them to win each time out. There are no superstars, save for Jake, no monster bats in the lineup, not counting Pete’s awesome rookie year, and too many original starters playing out of position. Rojas has put a good defensive team out there, mostly due to slumps and injuries and I believe he understands fundamentals. I like him. If we were in win now mode with some big pieces (yes I was fooled with the prospect of Ces hitting monster HRs) then perhaps a more seasoned manager would have been my pick. And while as a national league lifer, I had disdain for the DH, now I hope it never leaves the NL.

  • Metsense

    I agree with all points pro and con. I agree about Rosario/Gimenez and also the bullpen comment that nobody should be used too much or too infrequent. Rojas is learning about his players. He has communicated with Diaz about the closer role, Rosario about his free swinging and to Ramos about last night night’s final play. Rojas appears to be in control in game situations and dealing with the media. I think these are positive signs so I having him four stars.

  • Pete

    Like the season I’ll give Rojas an incomplete. Too bad
    he seems like a by the book manager. Which would
    you prefer? Lugo starting or any of these automatic AAA
    so called “starter losers”? Smith should be given time at
    1st base and let Alonso DH. It’s just a weird season. I’m going to predict the season will be cancelled because MLB players are
    human and sometimes do stupid things.

  • Dan Capwell

    He gets a three from me with helium. I like his defense first infield and his willingness to pull the plug on Diaz as the closer (might be restored soon). He’s in a tough spot with Rosario going belly up and Gimenez playing so well.

    Not his fault that Syndergaard got hurt and Stroman quit on the team. On the other hand, Robbie C. is helping him out.

    He might look a lot smarter if they get another good SP.

  • Eraff

    I don’t understand the shoe-horning to put Rosario at #1…it doesn’t fit the analytics of a DH Lineup, and He doesn’t fit the definition of a Traditional Leadoff Hitter. He does fit the #9 slot nicely, and it would allow him to swing the bat without too much thinking.

    You keep coming back to deGrom… He’s obviously had some physical issues– sorry, they don’t tell us that. He’s had some finger/blister problems and now he’s got some soreness in his neck. Maybe we should find an advanced stat to avoiding major injury

  • John Fox

    With respect to the disparagement of Sparky Anderson by Bill James, I’ll just throw this out. In 1969, with Dave Bristol managing, the Reds finished 89-73 in third place in the NL West. In 1970, with virtually the same team but now piloted by Sparky Anderson, the Reds went 102-60 and won their division by 14 1/2 games, and I don’t think it had anything to do with shiny shoes.

    • Brian Joura

      Well, in 1969 Gary Nolan and Wayne Simpson combined for 15 starts and an 8-8 record
      In 1970, Nolan and Simpson combined for 63 starts and a 32-10 record

      I don’t pretend to know the inner workings of the 1969 & 1970 Reds. It could certainly be that Anderson pushed for those two guys (much like Davey Johnson pushed for Gooden in ’84) and if that’s the case, then he deserves all the credit you can give him. But otherwise it looks like being in the right place in the right time.

      We should also note the 1971 Reds went 79-83.

  • TJ

    So, I gave Luis a 4. Why? Basically because he isn’t Mickey Callaway or Carlos Beltran. That, and because to me he has shown great poise with the media. He seems to have a strong sense of being in control, and that isn’t easy for a guy that never played in the bigs. Perhaps it is his family lineage, being bilingual, multicultural, a long term team employee, a guy with a lot of managerial experience, or all the above.

    Regarding those moves, some good some bad, in this day and age it is tough to determine who owns the moves. And that’s how it is for all teams. So, some of them, like leading off Rosario, were horrendous, but in the plus side, I’m impressed with the quick adjustments. That’s very good in setting the tone that performance and impact on the team are most important. No manager can do much about crappy pitching and failing to hit with RISP, the two biggest issues for the 2020 squad. Overall, Based on initial impressions, I hope Luis has a long run here.

    • TexasGusCC

      I’m with you TJ on all counts.

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