After a rather tumultuous offseason, Luis Rojas is the man in charge of leading the New York Mets. That’s a positive from many angles, but most notably, from the familiarity point of view. He has been working with the team for several years now, has loads of baseball knowledge and even managed some of the team’s stars on their way through the minors.
Upon arriving to spring training, Rojas was, according to Deesha Thosar of the New York Daily News, concentrating on one subject in his encounter with the media: leading the Mets to the playoffs.
“We expect to be a contender,” Rojas said on Tuesday. “We’re going to be in a tough division and we’re going to face tough teams this season in our schedule and we know that. We feel that we’re built to win.”
The Mets have to share the National League East with three other contenders: the World Champions Washington Nationals, the powerful Atlanta Braves and the up-and-coming Philadelphia Phillies. The Miami Marlins complete the group.
Rojas knows the Mets to perfection
Yet Rojas is confident that his players are talented enough to overcome the adversity. He takes pride on knowing the Mets’ roster, its strengths and weaknesses. “I know the guys pretty well and the guys know me back,” he said.
Today, the manager planned to have a team meeting with the full squad. The Mets’ position players reported to camp and joined pitchers and catchers: they arrived on Monday.
He confirmed Jacob deGrom as the opening day starter for the Mets but provided very little details about the rest of the rotation. It should be pointed out that one of Steven Matz, Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha will have to pitch out of the bullpen. Noah Syndergaard and Marcus Stroman’s spots should be safe.
“It probably won’t be a surprise that Jake is probably on Opening Day,” Rojas said. “But we’re not defining roles yet of 2, 3, 4, 5 or sixth starter. We’re not there yet. We’re going to sit back and have fun watching these guys pitch in spring training.”
Rojas said he is prepared to handle difficult decisions and conversations. “First of all, the No. 1 thing for me is communication. Second thing is trust and third is accountability,” the Mets’ skipper said. “I know if we hit those on the nose, those three, and the guys like I mentioned already, they know me well, I think that’s going to lead to having any type of conversation and being accountable for any kind of action that happens out there.”