The New York Mets are close to naming Luis Rojas their new manager.
Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen told reporters Wednesday that the team is finalizing a multiyear deal with Rojas.
“I think it’s the fit. It’s where the team is. I think it’s the culture we’re trying to create,” Van Wagenen said.
Rojas, 38, would replace Carlos Beltran, who parted ways with the Mets on Thursday after being named as a key participant in the 2017 Houston Astros‘ sign-stealing scandal.
Rojas had interviewed for the job that went to Beltran when the Mets were looking to replace Mickey Callaway, who was fired after last season.
In December 2018, Rojas was named the Mets’ quality control coach, a then-newly created role to be a conduit between the front office and the manager, consulting on “game preparation, strategy and analytics.”
Last season was his 13th with the Mets organization, and he has managed at several minor league levels for the franchise.
“He has a good finger on the pulse of this team,” Van Wagenen said.
His father is former major league player and manager Felipe Alou, and his brother, six-time All-Star Moises Alou, played his final two major league seasons for the Mets.
Rojas doesn’t have the last name Alou because when he was a minor leaguer with the Washington Nationals, the franchise asked him to change his name from Luis Alou to Luis Rojas to match his birth certificate, he told the New York Post last year. The newspaper reported that Rojas is the family name but that Felipe, Moises and his uncles used Alou, which is the surname of Rojas’ paternal grandmother.
Rojas, who was born in the Dominican Republic, played minor league ball with the Orioles, Marlins and Expos/Nationals from 2000 to 2005 but never got above rookie ball. He coached for New York in the Dominican Summer League in 2007, got his first managerial role with the Mets’ rookie-level Gulf Coast League team in 2011 and also coached at Class-A and Double-A. Notably, he was manager at Double-A Binghamton during Pete Alonso‘s breakout 2018 season, when Alonso led the minors with 36 home runs.
Alonso and Marcus Stroman were among Mets players to tweet their approval of the news.
Loved having Luis in ’17 and ’18 as my AA manager! It’s awesome playing under him and having him on staff last year as well!!! Super pumped to have him as the Jeffe. Also he throws some damn good bp #LFGM https://t.co/SI8JgLzRId
— Pete Alonso (@Pete_Alonso20) January 22, 2020
LUIS ROJAS! Love love love it. Loved being around him on the bench last year. Always teaching and full of knowledge. Super laid back and brings nothing but great vibes each and every day. Beyond even keel. Excited even more for the year! @Mets
— Marcus Stroman (@STR0) January 22, 2020
He was voted Best Managerial Candidate by his peers three times as a minor league manager in polling by Baseball America. Rojas also managed the Dominican team at last fall’s Premier12 Olympic qualifying event.
Astros manager AJ Hinch and Red Sox skipper Alex Cora were also fired after being named in MLB’s sign-stealing report. Neither the Astros nor Red Sox have named a replacement.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.