New York Mets: What To Expect From Manager Luis Rojas in 2021?

New York Mets, Luis Rojas

New York Mets manager Luis Rojas had a roller coaster ride in his first season as skipper. Rojas assumed the job of hired, then fired, manager Carlos Beltran, lost spring training to the COVID-19 pandemic, and then started up again for a two and a half month season. There were plenty of peaks and valleys throughout that ride, but Rojas is in a much better position for success in 2021.

Lost in all the 2020 mess is the ownership change that was ongoing throughout the season. Jeff Wilpon and Brodie Van Wagenen always found a way to screw something up during their time with the Mets. Now that both are gone forever, Rojas can manage and influence the game his own way.

New Year, New Me

Regardless of when spring camp gets going on time, Rojas will head into it way more prepared than he was in 2020. If COVID-19 precautions are taken seriously, he will manage an entire season without any major interruptions. Rojas has a strong relationship with a majority of the roster from his time managing in the minors. Those who are new have past relationships with other coaches on his staff.

Of course, the Mets will have a much better roster with Steve Cohen, Sandy Alderson, and Jared Porter as the Mets’ brain trust. Rojas is symbolic of their new GM and assistant GM, a young, good baseball mind who worked his way up from the bottom.

He has teachings from his father, Felipe Alou, and said teachings will be better utilized in 2021. Despite spending many years managing in the big leagues, year one is still a big challenge no matter the experience. Rojas learned plenty of valuable lessons during the underwhelming 60-game struggle. He was managing a wounded roster, but Rojas will never use that as an excuse.

The biggest strength Rojas has is his unique ability to keep his cool. Even in a short season, Rojas never got ejected and never even came close to one. Some see that trait as weak, but that is an essential skill for the modern-day manager.

Thanks to Cohen, the Mets have plenty of buzz surrounding them, and Rojas helps it even more. 2021 is going to be a big year for Rojas due to the hype and much-improved roster. 60-games was not a true indication of Rojas’s ability as a manager, and he will be much better in a full season.

Reminder: This was someone who wanted him fired a week after the season ended

Mets: Luis Rojas treats the 2020 season as a learning experience and is eager to return

When the New York Mets welcomed new owner Steve Cohen and president Sandy Alderson, they said that it was “very likely” that Luis Rojas, who led the team to a 26-34 mark in the shortened 2020 season, would return to be the manager in 2021. Alderson stopped short of writing it in stone because he wanted to hire a president of baseball operations and a general manager first, to gather their opinion.

However, the landscape has changed. The New York Mets won’t hire a president of baseball operations, and Alderson will fulfill the role. They will, instead, focus on bringing a GM. What was Alderson’s first decision as the person leading the baseball department? Officialize Luis Rojas as the Mets’ skipper.

In an interview with MLB.com’s Nathalie Alonso, Rojas expressed his happiness about returning to lead the Mets for 2021.

“The excitement of thinking about what it’s going to be like and the talk of how active we’re going to be this offseason with the goal of being a competitive team next year, that’s something that motivates you to prepare even more and keep growing within the game,” Rojas said by phone, in Spanish, from his native Dominican Republic.

Rojas is a beloved figure in the Mets’ organization. He has performed a variety of roles, including manager in the minor leagues, quality control, and bench coach. The players like and respect him.

The Mets want to foster a good organizational climate

The manager is eager to start working and thanks Alderson for the opportunity. He describes his new boss as “authentic.”

“Sandy always came to give motivational speeches to all the coaches about how we were all connected, from the big leagues to the Minors, and how we were a family,” Rojas said. “You could sense the spirit of collaboration, in which we were all part of the machinery of the organization for developing players and getting them to the big league club.”

It is true that the Mets disappointed in 2020, but it would be irresponsible to ignore the fact that they had virtually no rotation depth and had to deal with injuries and opt-outs, perhaps more than any other team.

“I think this past year was a great frame of reference for us to get ready, and for me to get ready, for 2021, if there are protocols in place,” said Rojas.

But Rojas, and the Mets, think everything will be better, and that the manager will improve and learn from his mistakes and his first season in charge.

“I think about a lot of situations in the game that we had, that we experienced, and I see different angles and different decisions that could have been made,” Rojas said. “A lot of learning took place. I hope to keep doing that, to keep talking to the staff and to keep improving as a coach and as a manager.”

New York Mets: Why Keeping Luis Rojas is a Good Move

New York Mets, Luis Rojas

If you asked me a week after the season ended, I would have told you Luis Rojas needs to go. After getting a couple of months away from watching the New York Mets and assessing the small sample size of games Rojas managed, he deserves another chance to lead the Mets.

Rojas came into the 2020 season and had to deal with plenty from the start. During Spring Training, he had to manage with the shadow of Carlos Beltran behind him, and COVID-19 stopped baseball operations toward the end of March.

Dealing With Upper Management

Like most first-year managers, Rojas dealt with plenty of bumps in the road throughout the season. Rojas made some questionable moves and could have shown a little more fire. Not that you want a manager getting into his players and getting thrown out, but Rojas did not get a single ejection all season. At the same time, I respect how he keeps his composure in strenuous moments and understands the importance of getting a message across the right way.

As with any manager working under a Brodie Van Wagenen/Jeff Wilpon regime, there is a lot of crap to deal with from them. In-game decisions are changed, and unnecessary acquisitions are made. Rojas had no starting pitching depth to work with either, which immediately put him behind the 8-ball when the season started. With those factors in place, along with a revamped analytics department, we will see his managing ability’s true colors.

Trust The Process

This is a good move because of his past success in the minor leagues. Whether it was winning games or developing players, his pedigree in the Mets system shows he deserves a chance. Rojas has strong relationships with a wide majority of the Mets 40-man roster and the prospects in the farm system. 60-games was not enough to determine his future, and the mistakes made during the 2020 season will be corrected in 2021.

There is no telling of how many games the Mets will win under Rojas, but what we saw from the 2020 Mets was not Rojas-esk. The Mets had many lackadaisical moments, poor baserunning, and defensive plays, which were not characteristic of Rojas led teams in the minors. The biggest difference in 2021 will come in cleaner team play, which sunk their postseason chances in 2020.

If Mickey Callaway somehow deserved a second year, Luis Rojas deserves on too.

BREAKING NEWS: Luis Rojas will return as the New York Mets’ manager in 2021

The New York Mets are sticking with Luis Rojas for the 2021 season, as team president Sandy Alderson explained to reporters on Monday in a press conference. Although Rojas was appointed as the skipper under the Wilpons and Brodie Van Wagenen’s time, new owner Steve Cohen and Alderson decided to give him another opportunity.

Rojas is a longtime member of the New York Mets in a variety of roles, from minor league manager to bench coach to coach of quality control. For more than a decade, he’s been involved with the organization.

He’s highly regarded as a good manager and has the respect of the players and the front office. He even managed several of the Mets’ current stars, such as Dominic Smith, Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, and others while they were going through the minor league ranks.

A disappointing first season with the Mets

In his first season in charge of the Mets, Rojas compiled a 26-34 record, the worst in the National League East division. The team’s performance was viewed as a bitter disappointment given the talent available in the roster.

However, he had to deal with a myriad of injuries and two very important players opting out of playing due to COVID-19 concerns: Yoenis Cespedes and Marcus Stroman.

Now, the team is searching for a president of baseball operations and a general manager, although recent reports state that the Mets will probably ditch the former position and, instead, focus on the latter.

The Mets are expected to be major players in the free agency period, although Cohen and Alderson have said that they won’t spend money just because. They need to find a starting catcher, replace the suspended Robinson Cano at second base, and find a couple of good starting pitchers, not to mention patching up the relief corps.

New York Mets: Sandy Alderson says Luis Rojas is “very likely” to remain the manager in 2021

The New York Mets introduced, via Zoom, their new owner Steve Cohen and his president: old friend Sandy Alderson. Both said that while they won’t spend like “drunken sailors” they want to win.

Cohen specifically said that if the New York Mets don’t lift the World Series trophy in the next three to five years, he will be “slightly disappointed.” Both men stressed the importance of building a culture of winning and sustainability.

The two men completely overhauled the Mets’ front office, starting with former general manager Brodie Van Wagenen and nearly all of his staff. The manager position, however, was a question mark before today’s press conference.

Luis Rojas, who has been with the Mets for several years in a variety of roles (even back when Alderson was the GM) just finished his first season as the team manager. It wasn’t a particularly successful one, as the Mets finished with a 26-34 record and in last place of the National League East division. However, Alderson said that Rojas is “very likely” to remain the team’s skipper in 2021.

Rojas know the Mets and the Mets know Rojas

The Mets’ president specified that he has been talking with Rojas about the matter for some time. While he didn’t quite make it official, it does sound like he is leaning towards keeping the young manager for at least another season.

However, Alderson wants to ensure that his front office hires have their opinion about Rojas before things making it official.

Most of the New York Mets’ players are familiarized with Rojas and have worked with him as all of them rose from the minor leagues, where he managed for a few years. He knows their strengths and weaknesses, and while the results weren’t there in his first season, he accumulated valuable experience for the future.

New York Mets: Luis Rojas “confident” that he will return as manager for next season

The overall excellence of the Atlanta Braves, the Philadelphia Phillies slow, but steady improvement, a late surge (and sweep) by the Washington Nationals and a step forward by the Miami Marlins’ youngster left the New York Mets, a popular sleeper candidate early in the season to make a deep postseason run, without playoffs and in the last place of the NL East division.

The offense was the only part of the machine that functioned properly, and the production wasn’t always timely. The rest was a complete disappointment: suspect starting pitching, erratic relief pitching, injuries, bad luck, opt-outs… any obstacle in the way was there for the New York Mets.

The 26-34 final record was a disappointing ending to a forgettable season in which they lost one of their best pitchers, Noah Syndergaard, from the very beginning. The Mets had to scramble the free agent market and the minor leagues (well, the taxi squad) to look for solutions in the pitching department. They had to convert not one, but two relievers into starters (Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman) due to an injury crisis.

Mets’ skipper already planning for 2021

Yet manager Luis Rojas, who was leading the Mets in his debut as a major league skipper, expressed confidence that he will be given another opportunity to show that he can do a better job under different circumstances.

“I’m going into the offseason confident that I’m going to be the manager of the team next year,” Rojas said according to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com.

“We’re all aware that we’re in a transition right now,” Rojas said. “I had a great relationship with our ownership, being in this organization for 15 years. Now as the manager, knowing that we’re in a transition, I can’t wait for the process to unfold and just to engage in the relationship with whatever happens. My mindset right now is I’m the manager, and I’m thinking of the team for 2021. I’m thinking of the things we can be better at.”

For Rojas to return, new Mets’ owner Steve Cohen and his projected team president Sandy Alderson would have to give their blessing.

New York Mets: deGrom’s Four Run Sixth Gives Marlins 5-3 Victory

New York Mets, Pete Alonso

The miserable New York Mets continue to struggle as Jacob deGrom cannot save them from a four-game losing streak. After cruising through five innings, it was a completely different deGrom in the sixth inning. The pesky Miami Marlins put across four runs and held off the Mets offense to win 5-3.

Things went bad for deGrom from the start of the inning. He lost the feel for his slider, and Garrett Cooper teed off on one for a 451-foot home run, cutting the Mets lead down to one. Pete Alonso’s error on a Matt Joyce ground ball opened up the lanes for the Marlins to steal bases. They stole four on the day, three off deGrom.

Joyce’s steal of second on a Brian Anderson strikeout allowed Lewin Diaz to record an RBI double, tying the game at two. Miguel Rojas gave the Marlins the lead with a bloop single, then Jorge Alfaro doubled to close the book on the four-run sixth.

Rogers Bent But Did Not Break

Trevor Rogers did not pitch as well as his first start against the Mets but showed his ability to battle once again. He held the Mets to two runs over five innings and used his fastball/changeup combination to keep the Mets off balance.

Jeff McNeil doubled, and Dominic Smith hit a sacrifice fly to give the Mets their only two runs off of Rogers. The team struggled again with runners in scoring position, only going 2-for-10. They squandered leadoff doubles in the fourth and fifth, which came back to bite them. Both were opportunities to create separation. It would have allowed deGrom to pitch more aggressively and rest the key arms in the Mets bullpen.

The loss showed the cluelessness of manager Luis Rojas. In no fashion does Pete Alonso deserve to hit in the two-hole, and Wilson Ramos does not deserve to hit fourth. Lefty or righty, both are two of the worst hitters on the roster at this time. He also continues to DH Robinson Cano instead of putting him at second, McNeil in left field, Smith at first, and Alonso as the DH. Smith looks like Keith Hernandez at first base when compared to Alonso.

Despite all the negativity from the last few days, they still have a chance to make the playoffs with a short winning streak. They will try to start one against the Baltimore Orioles. Game one is at 7:35 p.m. ET on Tuesday, and per usual, the Mets have no idea who is pitching.

New York Mets manager Luis Rojas gives Edwin Diaz another vote of confidence: “We still trust him”

On Sunday afternoon, the first game of the New York Mets‘ game against the Yankees, the bullpen once again collapsed. The Luis Rojas-led squad got to the seventh and final inning leading by five runs, but a few moments later, they had surrendered that lead in what ended up being an 8-7 loss.

Edwin Diaz, once again, was in the spotlight, but not in a good way. He blew his third save of the season and tenth in his Mets’ tenure. Rojas brought Diaz in with two men on base and the tying run at the plate. Unfortunately, Aaron Hicks belted a two-run homer that evened the score.

One inning later, the Mets had lost the game on a Gio Urshela walk-off single in the eighth inning. Since coming over from Seattle, where he was one of the game’s most dominant closers, Diaz has a 5.80 ERA.

The Mets need him to perform

Nevertheless, Rojas says he still wants Diaz to be a key cog in the bullpen in the future. After all, the New York Mets invested considerable resources to bring him to New York, namely prospects Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn.

“We still trust him,” Luis Rojas said. “We still love his stuff. And that’s when he’s going to get the ball, when there’s tight situations, when there’s tense situations like that.”

Diaz explained on Sunday that his feel for his slider just wasn’t there, despite the fact, according to MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, that he consistently threw it for strikes. Diaz, then, had to rely on his fastball, which was the pitch that Hicks connected over the fence.

“He only threw a few good sliders,” Rojas said of Diaz. “That was kind of the story of his outing today. When he has those two pitches working for him, that’s when it’s really tough to get a barrel on him.”

Mets starter Rick Porcello had allowed just a couple of runs in five innings of work. “It’s a tough one, that’s for sure,” he said. “You never like to lose. Especially when you’re winning a ballgame and end up giving it up late, it hurts. But this is something that you play baseball long enough, you deal with on more than one occasion and you know how to respond.”

New York Mets: Luis Rojas says Amed Rosario has to be ‘more disciplined’ offensively

Amed Rosario, New York Mets

Since designated hitter/outfielder Yoenis Cespedes opted out of the 2020 Major League Baseball season (August 2), the New York Mets depth chart has changed. As part of that shuffle, shortstop Amed Rosario’s role has been altered.

The team’s shortstop for the better part of the last three years, Rosario finds himself battling for playing time, which is partially due to his lack of production at the plate. Across 71 plate appearances, he is hitting .211, with a .521 OPS, a 44 OPS+, and five RBIs. Rosario hasn’t recorded a walk.

Mets manager Luis Rojas says that Rosario needs to be “more disciplined” in the batter’s box (quotes per Mike Puma of the New York Post).

“[Rosario] has got to be more disciplined with the zone,” manager Luis Rojas said before the game. “We have seen how much he is expanding. This kid has the ability to put the bat on the ball and when you start expanding, you are going to end up chasing early and putting the ball in play. When you do that the ball is not going to be hit very hard and that is what’s happening to him.”

Across his big-league career, Rosario is hitting .267 with a .702 OPS and a 91 OPS+ while totaling 29 home runs and 138 RBIs.

In the wake of Rosario’s struggles and veteran second baseman Robinson Cano hitting the injured list, infielders Andres Gimenez and Luis Guillorme have seen an uptick in playing time; Gimenez has garnered 61 plate appearances this season; Guillorme has garnered 29 plate appearances and is hitting .458 with a 1.059 OPS and a 200 OPS+.

Cano returned to the Mets lineup on Friday. The second baseman is hitting .412 with a 1.152 OPS, a 218 OPS+, and 13 RBIs across 14 games this season.

The Mets are 10-14, which is good for fourth place in the National League East. They continue a four-game series with the division-rival Miami Marlins on Tuesday.

New York Mets: Luis Rojas talks recently improved bullpen

New York Mets, Luis Rojas

The New York Mets are 5-9, good for last place in the National League East. Their latest loss came Friday night at the hands of the red-hot division rival Miami Marlins, 4-3, at Citi Field.

All in all, the Mets bullpen has been shaky this season, as they’ve blown three leads in the seventh inning or later, all leading to losses. Last season the Mets bullpen recorded a 4.99 ERA. At the same time, they’ve been much better over the last week, tossing a combined 14 scoreless innings.

Mets manager Luis Rojas alludes to relievers “attacking the zone” as the impetus for the bullpen’s improvement (quotes per Jared Schwartz of the New York Post).

“It’s just attacking the zone,” Rojas said after the game. “That first batter is key. First guy you’re gonna face coming out of the bullpen, that’s key. You’re setting the tone. Everyone’s looking from the dugout, everyone wants to see how your command is, what you’re mixing. Off of that, they know what type of approach they’re going to bring. They know what you have. Everyone is prepared against each pitcher in the bullpen, knowing the history and the data that’s collected by all teams. But once they witness you out there, what you’re commanding, if you’re attacking on that first hitter, later in the game guys will go after those early pitches.”

Rojas feels his relievers are setting the tone.

“It’s really good to set the tone with that first batter you face. I think that’s been key for the bullpen over the last few days.”

Edwin Diaz, who owned a 7.71 ERA after his first three appearances this season, has surrendered one baserunner over his last three appearances — which were non-save situations; Jeurys Familia sports a 3.18 ERA; Seth Lugo owns a 2.57 ERA.

The Mets play the Marlins on Saturday in the second game of a three-game set.