clearn.png
Friday February 28th, 2020 10:46PM

Mets pick Luis Rojas to replace Carlos Beltrán as manager

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

NEW YORK (AP) — Caught off guard in a quick split with Carlos Beltrán, the New York Mets want some continuity for a change.

So with spring training only three weeks away, they picked his replacement from their very own bench.

The club was working Wednesday to complete a multiyear agreement with quality control coach Luis Rojas that would make him New York's fourth manager in the past 2 1/2 years — and third in four months.

"He has a good finger on the pulse of this particular team. He was part of it last year,” general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said. "He knows these guys, and he knows how to communicate to them. Every returning player on the roster has a relationship with him, and that’s valuable to us at this time.”

Rojas would take over for Beltrán, let go by the Mets last week before managing a single game as part of the fallout from the Houston Astros' sign-stealing scandal.

The 38-year-old Rojas is the son of former Montreal Expos and San Francisco Giants manager Felipe Alou and the brother of ex-big league outfielder Moises Alou, who spent the last two seasons of his career with the Mets from 2007-08. A minor league manager for eight years, Rojas has worked in the organization since 2007 but had never coached in the majors before joining Mickey Callaway's staff last season.

“Luis earned this job. He has literally trained his whole life to be a manager,” Van Wagenen said. “He is considered one of the better in-game decision makers simply that we have in the organization.”

Rojas' duties in the dugout as quality control coach included serving as “a conduit between the front office and coaching staff on all issues including game preparation, strategy and analytics,” according to the team's media guide. He was New York's outfield coach in 2019 and led the effort in preparing hitters for opposing pitchers, Van Wagenen said.

Callaway was fired after the season, and Rojas interviewed for the vacancy before New York hired Beltrán on Nov. 1. Van Wagenen said Rojas knew he was “a serious candidate” back in October.

“It’s always helpful to have familiarity," Van Wagenen said. "The fact that he was so actively involved with the coaches this fall in preparation for spring training, in preparation for the season — he was already asserting himself more in a leadership role with this new coaching staff and helping Carlos learn some of the managerial things that he hadn’t been exposed to before."

That played “a significant role” in the Mets choosing Rojas, according to Van Wagenen. The team decided against external options such as ESPN analyst Eduardo Pérez, who interviewed for the job last fall.

"I think it’s the fit, it's where the team is, it's what culture we’re trying to create," Van Wagenen said, pointing out that most of New York's homegrown talent played for Rojas in the minors. “He's respected by the players, he's trusted by the players and he's someone that we have great confidence in."

Beltrán’s tenure lasted just 2½ months and ended after Commissioner Rob Manfred singled him out last week in a report on a cheating scheme used by the Astros during their World Series championship season in 2017, when Beltrán played for them.

No players were disciplined by Major League Baseball, but three days later the Mets announced Beltrán was out as manager. The sides said it was a mutual decision, and Beltrán apologized for his role in the scam. He said he didn't want to be a distraction to the Mets.

Less than a week afterward, they transitioned to Rojas.

"When it came to this unfortunate circumstance, we didn't want to change the values that we outlined for ourselves in the initial process," Van Wagenen said. "We wanted to continue the momentum that we have with the work that's been done in preparation for spring training, and we felt like Luis was in a position to be a leader of that group.”

Houston manager AJ Hinch and Boston skipper Alex Cora also were let go after being implicated in MLB's sign-stealing report. Neither the Astros nor Red Sox have named replacements.

Rojas, born in the Dominican Republic, played in the minors with the Orioles, Marlins and Expos/Nationals from 2000-05 but never got above rookie ball.

He is entering his 14th season working in the Mets organization, including those eight as a minor league manager. He coached for New York in the Dominican Summer League in 2007, got his first managerial role with the rookie-level Gulf Coast League team in 2011 and also managed at Class-A and Double-A. In the Dominican Winter League, he won a 2016 championship with the Leones del Escogido.

Notably, he was the manager at Double-A Binghamton during Pete Alonso’s breakout 2018 season, when he led the minors with 36 home runs.

“Loved having Luis in ‘17 and ’18 as my AA manager!” Alonso tweeted. “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.”

Following a strong second half, New York went 86-76 last season but missed the playoffs, finishing third in the NL East behind Atlanta and World Series champion Washington.

“LUIS ROJAS! Love love love it,” pitcher Marcus Stroman added on Twitter. “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!”

Rojas was voted Best Managerial Candidate by his peers three times as a minor league manager in polling by Baseball America. He also managed the Dominican team at last fall's Premier12 Olympic qualifying event.

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Baseball , AP Sports - Major League Baseball, AP Sports - Minor League Baseball
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Tesla passes $100 billion, teeing up big payout for Musk
The meteoric rise of Tesla shares that recently pushed the company's value over $100 billion could turn into a supercharged payday for CEO Elon Musk
2:58PM ( 8 minutes ago )
Boeing's new CEO sees 737 Max production resuming in spring
Boeing's new CEO is suggesting that production of the 737 Max will resume this spring, even before regulators approve the plane to fly again
2:51PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Chinese city stops outbound flights, trains to fight virus
Chinese state media say the city of Wuhan is shutting down outbound flights and trains as the country battles the spread of a new virus that has sickened hundreds and killed 17
2:50PM ( 16 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Braves hoping Ozuna poised for repeat of career-best season
The Atlanta Braves would be happy if their newest signee, outfielder Marcell Ozuna, has an average season by his standards this season
1:48PM ( 1 hour ago )
Kansas suspends De Sousa indefinitely for K-State brawl
No. 3 Kansas has suspended forward Silvio De Sousa indefinitely for his role in a brawl with Kansas State near the end of their game
1:26PM ( 1 hour ago )
Hall of Fame HS basketball coach Morgan Wootten dies at 88
Hall of Fame high school basketball coach Morgan Wootten has died at the age of 88
12:19PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Sports
10 Things to Know for Today
Get ready for Wednesday, January 22nd with a few things to know about the day’s news from The Associated Press
7:45AM ( 7 hours ago )
Schilling the one to watch in next Hall of Fame vote
Derek Jeter's election to the Hall of Fame marked the seventh straight year with at least one first-ballot honoree, but that streak is probably over in 2021
3:45AM ( 11 hours ago )
Jeter 1 vote shy of unanimous, Walker also elected to Hall
Derek Jeter came within one vote of being a unanimous pick for the Hall of Fame while Larry Walker also earned baseball's highest honor on Tuesday
9:24PM ( 17 hours ago )
AP Online Baseball
Astros, Red Sox look ahead in wake of sign-stealing scandal
Players from two teams at the center of baseball’s sign-stealing scandal faced their fans for the first time since the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox ousted their managers amid the fallout from the investigation into Houston’s elaborate scheme
9:00PM ( 3 days ago )
Where does Astros cheating rank in scandals? Ask Pete Rose
There's one former baseball player uniquely qualified to answer a question about cheating in baseball
10:18AM ( 4 days ago )
Former Walmart exec, Royals owner David Glass dies at 84
Former Walmart Inc. chief executive David Glass, who owned the Kansas City Royals for nearly two decades before selling the franchise this past fall, died last week of complications from pneumonia
10:42PM ( 4 days ago )
AP Sports - Major League Baseball
Rays acquire Martinez from Cardinals for pitching prospect
The Tampa Bay Rays have acquired first baseman-designated hitter Jose Martinez from St. Louis in a trade that sends minor league pitching prospect Matthew Liberatore to the Cardinals
11:34PM ( 1 week ago )
Larsen, who threw only perfect World Series game, dies at 90
Don Larsen, the New York Yankees pitcher who threw the only perfect game in World Series history, has died
10:27AM ( 2 weeks ago )
Replay dominated sports in 2019, and expect more this year
The blown pass interference call that helped the Los Angeles Rams reach the Super Bowl set the tone across sports in 2019
12:33PM ( 3 weeks ago )
AP Sports - Minor League Baseball
Chinese city stops outbound flights, trains to fight virus
Chinese state media say the city of Wuhan is shutting down outbound flights and trains as the country battles the spread of a new virus that has sickened hundreds and killed 17
2:59PM ( 7 minutes ago )
Tesla passes $100 billion, teeing up big payout for Musk
The meteoric rise of Tesla shares that recently pushed the company's value over $100 billion could turn into a supercharged payday for CEO Elon Musk
2:58PM ( 8 minutes ago )
Boeing's new CEO sees 737 Max production resuming in spring
Boeing's new CEO is suggesting that production of the 737 Max will resume this spring, even before regulators approve the plane to fly again
2:51PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Cases of new viral respiratory illness rise sharply in China
Chinese state media say the city of Wuhan is shutting down outbound flights and trains as the country battles the spread of a new virus that has sickened hundreds and killed 17
2:48PM ( 18 minutes ago )
Impeachment trial brings angst for 4 presidential hopefuls
The four senators seeking the White House have been pulled off the presidential campaign trail and into the Senate as jurors in President Donald Trump's impeachment trial
2:46PM ( 20 minutes ago )