It never feels good when you’re the second choice for anything. Because of the circumstances around the New York Mets managerial job prior to the 2020 season, Luis Rojas knows he wasn’t first choice.
The Mets had to cancel on Carlos Beltran because they were worried about what their parents might think. So, to not waste the tickets to the concert, they called up longtime friend Rojas and invited him to the show.
In his time as the manager, Rojas has been a mix of good and bad. Like any manager, most of the criticism comes from handling the bullpen—the most direct action we often see from a skipper. Other than this, it has been a very blah time as the Mets manager and that isn’t so bad.
Luis Rojas doesn’t have the same fire or personality as past Mets managers
I think if most of us were to describe our ideal manager it would be someone that has a certain presence you can feel even when you’re not in the room with them. We know they are the boss and not just because they are the oldest guy wearing silly baseball pants. There is a respect and authority aura around them.
I’m not so sure Rojas has either of these just yet.
While Mets players may respect Rojas, the authority aspect of him is lacking. He comes across as a young manager (which he is) still trying to learn on the job (which he, again, probably is).
In interviews, Rojas might be one of the most boring managers out there. The exact opposite of an Ozzie Guillen yet much more personable than a guy like Bill Belichick from the NFL, Rojas is the kind of manager that may never say something controversial.
In fact, I praise him for almost always saying the right thing.
Rojas was recently asked about Trevor Bauer and the Mets’ inability to sign him and whether that was a good thing considering the allegations. Rather than actually answer it, Rojas quickly spun the question into how happy he was to have Taijuan Walker.
Rojas has had several instances like this in 2021. He’s defending his team, never putting them on blast, and giving the beat writers very little to report on. He’s the “create a manager” from the videogame version designed specifically for owners. He won’t kick dirt, cuss, or clumsily have a temper tantrum. He has shown anger at times, but for the most part, Rojas has stayed even-keeled.
It’s not exciting to have a manager like this. The most exciting managers are the ones that can combust. Lou Piniella made a career out of being a firebrand. Earl Weaver got the most out of his players by shouting.
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Rojas is what we should expect from future managers going forward. Often as much a spokesperson for the team as much as the on-field manager, it’s comfortably boring to know the captain of the ship is all baseball, all the time and isn’t letting anything else get in the way.