clearn.png
Wednesday February 26th, 2020 6:11AM

Mets pick coach Luis Rojas to replace 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 his last two seasons 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 also 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,” Mets 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!”

NOTES: Van Wagenen said outfielder Yoenis Céspedes has progressed enough in his long rehab program to be ready for batting practice when spring training begins next month. ... New York plans to bring back reserve catcher René Rivera as a non-roster invite to camp. ... After a report indicated Boston might be interested in new Mets bench coach Hensley Meulens for its managerial opening, Van Wagenen said the Red Sox had not yet asked for permission to interview Meulens. ... Van Wagenen said the Mets soon plan to begin searching for a new coach to replace Rojas on the staff in some capacity.

___

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.
Mets pick coach Luis Rojas to replace Beltrán as manager
The New York Mets are working to complete a multiyear agreement with quality control coach Luis Rojas to make him their manager
7:51PM ( 20 minutes ago )
Trump to attend anti-abortion rally in Washington
The White House says President Donald Trump will become the first president to attend the annual anti-abortion gathering in Washington called the March for Life
7:49PM ( 22 minutes ago )
Clippers missing 3 starters, Young sitting out for Hawks
The Los Angeles Clippers are missing three starters for their game against the Atlanta Hawks
7:44PM ( 27 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Twins, Donaldson finalize $92M deal, boost potent lineup
The Minnesota Twins and third baseman Josh Donaldson have finalized their four-year, $92 million contract
6:50PM ( 1 hour ago )
Big 12 suspends 4 players from KU-KSU brawl 24 games total
The Big 12 has suspended four players from Kansas and Kansas State a combined 24 games for their roles in a melee that spilled off the court
6:43PM ( 1 hour ago )
Giants' Eli Manning retires after 16 seasons, 2 Super Bowls
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning has retired
6:39PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Sports
Larry Walker's Hall plaque to feature Rockies cap, not Expos
Larry Walker's Hall of Fame plaque in Cooperstown will have a Colorado Rockies cap, not a Montreal Expos hat
3:26PM ( 4 hours ago )
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 ( 6 hours ago )
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 ( 12 hours ago )
AP Online Baseball
Rockies' Arenado feels disrespected over trade rumors
Rockies star Nolan Arenado says he feels disrespected after Colorado general manager Jeff Bridich acknowledged listening to trade offers for the seven-time Gold Glove winner
10:31PM ( 1 day ago )
When it comes to unanimous Hall picks, Jeter could be No. 2.
When it comes to unanimous picks for baseball's Hall of Fame, Derek Jeter quite appropriately has the chance to be No. 2
8:23PM ( 1 day ago )
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 )
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
Trump to attend anti-abortion rally in Washington
The White House says President Donald Trump will become the first president to attend the annual anti-abortion gathering in Washington called the March for Life
7:49PM ( 22 minutes ago )
Clippers missing 3 starters, Young sitting out for Hawks
The Los Angeles Clippers are missing three starters for their game against the Atlanta Hawks
7:44PM ( 27 minutes ago )
California governor aims to block PG&E's bankruptcy plan
California Gov. Gavin Newsom is urging a federal judge to reject Pacific Gas and Electric's blueprint for getting out of bankruptcy and renewing his threat to lead a bid to turn the beleaguered utility into a government-run operation
7:44PM ( 27 minutes ago )
Aerosmith drummer loses bid to rejoin band for Grammy honors
Aerosmith's drummer has lost his bid to rejoin the band as its set to perform and be honored at Grammy events this week
7:42PM ( 29 minutes ago )
The Latest: morning rain delays play on outside courts
Morning rain has delayed the start of play on outside courts at the Australian Open by one hour
7:28PM ( 44 minutes ago )