PORT ST. LUCIE – Spending an hour with the new Mets manager Luis Rojas will notice the character, willpower and determination, baseball master's mentality, and lack of ego.
Sure, there will be sinkholes through which you can navigate, because these are the Mets.
However, Rojas firmly believes that Mets magic will be in sight. But to get there, there has to be unity. That will be his central message to his team when it comes together this month. Pitcher and catcher report from February 10th and the first training with a full squad is February 17th.
"I've thought a lot about it. Every day I think about it, you think about so many things that you can say," Rojas told the Post on Monday, giving a preview of the spring training when he was 38 at the age of 38 Post of a major league manager.
"Everything will be positive," he said. “We have a positive group of people, both in terms of tools, skills and personality. We'll talk about what we're aiming for in spring training. "
What is this exactly
"Number one is moving in the same direction," said Rojas. “We come from different areas, but we have to move in the same direction. There are a few things that we will bring up to conduct this communication with the guys. Things will be specific to the product we have. A play will work because we have Amed Rosario there; A piece will work because we have Robinson Cano there. We want everything to make sense in the product we have. "
The players know their roles. Rojas is one. That's why Mets players were happy with his promotion to manager on January 22 after Carlos Beltran's fiasco.
Rojas, the son of Felipe Alou, has mastered more than a thousand games in the Mets system, made a stop at all levels, built a bond with many players and another 300 games in winter ball that prepared him for this moment.
"Someone said it best," said Rojas, when the sun hit the sky late afternoon on a perfect 74-degree day. "In the small leagues you learn how to lose games, in winter you learn how to win games." I have done both. I have seen several ways you can lose small league games and how you can win winter ball games because there is more competition than in the small leagues. "
With the winter ball, you also learn how to deal with so many different players and situations with crowded duty rosters.
His managerial journey began when his father led the Expos Single-A team in West Palm Beach.
"I was young, about 8 years old," said Rojas. “I remember shouting at the players once because they were arguing. My father sent me to the office for the rest of the game. So I learned my lesson that day. "
His father made it clear to him "that it's not right to treat players like this."
He learned what made a team a winning team when his father ran the expos, a super talented team (74-40) who was on the way to great things when the strike hit in 1994.
"To be in the big league clubhouse with the boys, Pedro [Martinez]My brother Moises [Alou]Larry Walker, who was my favorite player, and these people and just watching how they got along, was cool to see the stars get on and off the field, ”said Rojas. "Lots of great players, young and talented."
He wants to bring that to the Mets.
"I think we did," he said.
It's not just about numbers or talent, it's about becoming a team, and that's why he will bring the message about coming together.
A bond was built up in the weight room for players like Noah Syndergaard, whom he never managed with minors. Syndergaard recently called Rojas the "most jacked up manager in the league".
Rojas, who had worked as a Mets quality control trainer in Queens last season, had just returned from a Cano charity event in the Dominican Republic. He has had long conversations with most Mets, including Edwin Diaz, a Met that needs repair. He came back from this meeting and was confident that Mets fans would see a different Diaz than the one that struggled in his first year in New York.
"I saw Edwin dominate at the beginning and his confidence was very high, but then he went through some difficulties with his stuff and last year it can help me to have some conversations," said Rojas. "I saw Edwin last week and he worked so hard in Puerto Rico to get into the shape that he can perform and be consistent from day one. The key for him will be his game preparation and the things he is doing now will carry over. … Always keep his trust. He has a great group of people around and I think that will help him.
"The boys want to get this going," said Rojas of his players, many of whom trained before the camp. "We have a talented team and preparation for the off-season will continue. I think that will enable us to be successful."
We will soon see if everything finally comes together under Rojas.