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:
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