Alderson confirms Rojas will return in 2021

November 23rd, 2020

NEW YORK -- Luis Rojas will return to manage the Mets regardless of whom the team hires this winter as its top baseball operations executive, team president Sandy Alderson said Monday.

“I’m thrilled to be the manager under the leadership of Sandy and to try to win a World Series,” Rojas said in a text. “We look forward to putting in the work and making our fans proud.”

The commitment came two weeks after Alderson termed Rojas likely to return but stopped short of fully committing because he wanted to give an incoming president of baseball operations the latitude to hire a new manager if they saw fit. Instead, for several reasons, the Mets have decided to hire a general manager instead of a president of baseball ops.

That leaves Alderson in charge of baseball decisions for now, putting Rojas in position to return as manager. Alderson called Rojas on Monday to deliver the news.

“I’m very happy about that decision,” Alderson said. “I think Luis is happy as well, and I’m looking forward to working with Luis with our new general manager and the rest of the new baseball operations group toward a successful 2021 season.”

Rojas, 39, entered 2020 as the Mets’ quality control coach under rookie manager Carlos Beltrán. When the Mets dismissed Beltrán in January over his involvement in the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal, they did not search outside the organization for a replacement. Instead, with less than a month until the start of Spring Training, the Mets promoted Rojas to take Beltrán’s place.

What followed was an unprecedented season that included a league-wide shutdown due to COVID-19 in March, then a Mets hiatus when a player and a coach tested positive for the coronavirus in August. Unable to build much momentum over the 60-game season, the Mets finished with a 26-34 record that club decision-makers did not blame on Rojas.

Most remained pleased with the work of Rojas, a longtime member of the organization who predated even Alderson’s first stint with the club. Rojas joined the Mets late in 2006, serving as a coach in the Dominican Summer League the following season. From there, he worked his way up the organizational ladder, advancing particularly rapidly after Alderson became GM in ‘10. Months later, Rojas earned his first Minor League managerial job with the rookie-level Gulf Coast Mets. He took two additional gigs in Class A ball before advancing to Double-A Binghamton in ‘17, then to the Mets’ big league coaching staff two years later.

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When the Mets promoted him again in January, Rojas became the sixth Dominican manager in Major League history, joining his father -- longtime Expos and Giants manager Felipe Alou -- on that list.

Ex-Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen valued Rojas as manager in part because of the relationships he had fostered during his Minor League years with homegrown players such as Jeff McNeil, Amed Rosario, Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, Dominic Smith and others. The Mets still value that continuity within their organization and believe Rojas can grow into other aspects of the job.

“Luis as an individual, as a person who’s able to relate to his players both in terms of their professional work as well as their personal lives, I think he’s exceptional in that regard,” Alderson said. “On the professional side, managing a game, I think that he will be better. We need to make sure that he has all of the necessary resources to be better and make good decisions based not only on his own judgment, but information that’s available. He’s very open to that. So I’m very happy that Luis is coming back, both from a personal standpoint and a professional standpoint.”