As I am sure you are aware of, the Mets recently parted ways with Carlos Beltrán after hiring him only a few months ago, and before he ever managed a single game. Even though he was never disciplined by the league for his involvement in the Astros’ sign stealing scandal because he was a player at the time, his involvement in the scheme resulted in the Wilpons deciding that it was best to move on. They had the audacity to say they believed in “integrity,” and to the best of my knowledge they actually said that with a straight face and were not struck by lightning.
I wrote about the Beltrán hiring when it happened, and I was not a fan of the hire, which is saying a lot coming from a Puerto Rican Mets fan. I loved the fact that they hired a Spanish-speaking manager with so many players nowadays being from Latin America, but the fact of the matter is that he has no coaching experience at any level. Managing personnel can be very difficult, especially under the New York spotlight. There were plenty of more qualified candidates to choose from, such as current Astros interim manager Joe Espada.
As the Mets embarked on yet another manager search, I had my concerns, and not just because it was the Mets. MLB management has a serious diversity problem, and two managers of color recently lost their jobs (the other being Alex Cora). I am not saying that they deserved to keep their jobs, just that their potential replacements could exacerbate MLB’s diversity issues.
In one of my rare trips to the wasteland of Twitter I came across this tweet:
Luis Rojas checks all the boxes for me:— Jacob Resnick (@Jacob_Resnick) January 16, 2020
• Knows the organization front and back, wont have to acclimate on such short notice.
• Has managed most if not all of the homegrown players in the minors.
• Lauded for his work on the big league staff last year.#Mets pic.twitter.com/dmqssIVfx0
I had never heard of Luis Rojas, before I saw that, but I immediately felt that he would be the perfect hire for the reasons stated above. I also thought that this was too good of an idea for the Mets to ever go for. I mean, c’mon, the Mets don’t ever make good decisions!
Well, my friends, the day has finally come were I can laud the Mets for doing a smart thing! I can’t begin to describe my shock and amazement. This might be the only time it ever happens, so I’ll be sure to savor it.
The Mets’ hiring of Luis Rojas might be the best manager hire of the offseason. The team did not go with a stale retread or famous name. Yes, there is something to be said for hiring a proven former manager such as Dusty Baker, but everyone has to start somewhere, and this is as inspired a choice as one can get for a rookie manager hire.
Believe it or not, Rojas is descended from manager royalty. His father is managing great Felipe Alou, so he will have a great resource to go to for advice. You might be wondering why he has a different last name than his father. In Latin American culture, people go by both their paternal and maternal last names. For example, I would go by Luis Torres Medina. Obviously it is not done that way in the United States, so players from Latin America have to pick a name to go by. Whatever his reasons may be, the new Mets manager chose to go with Rojas.
While I believe Rojas to be a vastly superior hire compared to Beltrán, some of the concerns are still there, mostly that this is still the Mets. Sure, the Wilpons are transitioning out — Hallelujah — but Brodie Van Wagenen is still there. Maybe everything will be fine without the Wilpons micromanaging everything, it’s just that decades of Mets fandom has left me sufficiently cynical and jaded. I think Rojas can be successful, but his bosses are going to need to stay out of his way and let him do his job.
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Luis Torres is a Featured Writer at Beyond the Box Score. He is a medicinal chemist by day, baseball analyst by night. You can follow him on Twitter at @Chemtorres21.