Why I Am A Fan of the Luis Rojas Signing:
My displeasure about the Yankees managing and coaching choices (outside of Matt Blake) is apparent. I don’t think Aaron Boone is the best man for the job (as a proxy for Brian Cashman or not).
However, bringing in Luis Rojas as a third base/outfield coach is an interesting move and I like it.
The New York Yankees today announced that Luis Rojas has been named the club’s third base coach. pic.twitter.com/m7hNYy7ROY — New York Yankees (@Yankees) November 15, 2021
Don’t Hold the Mets Against Rojas:
Don’t hold the last two years of being the manager of the New York Mets against Luis Rojas. He was not put in a position to succeed over in Flushing. Rojas was the Mets late managerial option going into 2020. Remember, he took over the managerial reigns in late January (!) after Carlos Beltran was “fired” (mutually split ways with the Mets) for his part in the 2017 Houston Astros trashcan scandal. After that season, Rojas then lost the GM who hired him as well as the ownership of the team. Navigating all those changes cannot be easy on a manager, especially someone who was not really considered ready for the position.
To make this point even clearer, look at the Mets currently! They’re still trying to find a guy to take over as the new general manager of the team. They have an owner who seems to be willing to dump as much money as necessary into the team and yet they still can’t find someone willing to take their general manger position. They had tons of front office personnel from across the MLB (including the Yankees own Jean Afterman) turn down the offer and now…halfway into November may have found a guy in (another former Yankee Front office person) Billy Eppler. They are hiring a guy who couldn’t build a solid team around quite literally the best player in the MLB (Mike Trout). It isn’t a good look to say the least.
Needless to say, it’s clear that Rojas is going from a team in the midst of a lot of change to a team that is much more stable in its ways. Because of this, I don’t think we can count Rojas’ perceived failures with the Mets team against him that much.
Some Benefits That Come with Rojas:
Now that we have established a new-slate for Rojas, it’s time to consider and talk about and consider what he brings to the table for the Yankees. There are a bunch of good factors that help Rojas’ stock as a new member of the Yankees coaching staff:
Rojas knows how to handle the New York media, which is not something everyone can do. Now, as a third-base coach there isn’t a ton of media interaction, but it’s still a nice experience to have dealt with already. (Especially because his more prominent media appearances will often be due to scrutiny of his decisions as a third-base coach.)
While he’s not the second in command, it’s nice having a former manager on the bench with Aaron Boone. Rojas was with the Mets organization for 15 years and was a manager at the MLB, Double-A, and Single-A levels. Needless to say, he has a good amount of experience in the role which is something I think the Yankees coaching staff was missing.
In addition, Rojas was met with excitement when he was announced as the Mets manager going into the 2020 season. You’d be hard-pressed to find somebody who has worked under/alongside Rojas who has something bad to say about him. He’s talked about as a great baseball mind and on his Wikipedia page it says, “deeply religious, workout-obsessed, wine-sipping, dominoes-playing, baseball lifer.” I like that.
Rojas is bilingual in both English and Spanish. On top of this, he joins Carlos Mendoza (bench coach) as another Latin-born coach, of which is a benefit given the Yankees large number of great Latin-born players (Gleyber Torres, Jonathan Loaisiga, and Luis Gil to name a few). They also have many more names in the minor leagues from different IFA classes. It can only help to have coaches who can relate to the next generation of players.
Rojas comes from a baseball family. He is a son of Felipe Alou (thus he is related to the other members of the Alou clan- Moises, Jesus and Matty- and is a cousin of Mel Rojas. Needless to say, Rojas has a considerable amount of family who have experience across many different aspects of the game. Obviously I have no idea how close he is with any of them, but one would think the many baseball minds in that family talk to and help each other.
The hiring of a third-base coach is not something to get overly worked up or excited about. While it is an important position on the coaching staff, the true value of a third base coach is limited in what they can provide while the team is on offense. However, the signing of Rojas is much more than that.
I’m a big fan of the Yankees looking to support Aaron Boone with other helping coaching hires. I think Matt Blake and Mike Harkey do a very good job with the pitching staff and bullpen (respectively), though the Yankees very clearly needed to bring in coaches who will help this team improve on the other side of the ball. Luis Rojas seems to be that type of guy, considering he’s taking on outfield coaching responsibility in addition to being the third-base coach.
I think Rojas got a bad deal with the New York Mets and one thing that’s giving me a lot of encouragement about him is the fact that even after two disappointing seasons with the Mets it still seems like fans, players, and media alike are still promoters of Rojas. Considering the quick-to-judge nature of those three types of peoples, this is the biggest recommendation I can imagine.
Welcome to the good side of New York, Luis!