BY JOE PANTORNO
Well, this is familiar.
On Jan. 24 — for the second time in just under four months — the New York Mets introduced a manager at Citi Field as Luis Rojas met the Big Apple’s media.
“This is a dream come true for me to become the New York Mets manager,” said Rojas, who is entering his 15th year with the organization. “That was my dream.”
Rojas takes over for Carlos Beltran, who held the position of manager for a little over three months following the dismissal of Mickey Callaway. After Major League Baseball’s findings on the 2017 Houston Astros’ sign-stealing investigations — a team Beltran was on and a scheme he participated in — the Mets opted to part ways with Beltran on Jan. 16.
“It all unfolded this week,” Rojas said of his hiring. “I came here, we met, I’m not familiar with how the process went before that.”
It’s a sudden jump to the managerial role for the 38-year-old, who spent 2019 as a quality control coach that served as a conduit between the clubhouse and the front office following multiple managing stints throughout the organization’s minor-league system.
“It was a great experience to get me ready to fulfill this position right now,” Rojas said. “I saw what this team can do. I want to lead them to win. We had a great second half… I want that to transfer into spring training when we break ground.”
He also made it known that the swift promotion isn’t a daunting one.
“I’ve been prepared for this. It’s something that goes way back… going through all those years of preparation,” Rojas said. “What helps with this transition is how close our coaching staff is. We’re very close.”
The National League’s youngest manager will be taking over a team on the cusp of contention in the National League East as they eye a return to the postseason for the first time since 2016.
He wasn’t limiting any of his personal expectations, either.
“I will lead this team into success,” he said while looking at members of the Mets’ front office.
It didn’t go unnoticed by general manager Brodie Van Wagenen.
“This guy’s real. You feel it. Our players are familiar with it, they know he has substance,” he said of Rojas. “From a leadership group, when we’re looking for people to represent our brand and motivate our players… when someone has the poise like Luis Rojas, who commands a room, it can create great things.”
With the skipper firmly in place as pitchers and catchers are set to report on Feb. 11, Rojas is already laying the foundation of the team’s culture heading into the 2020 season.
“The Mets are my family, the Mets are my baseball family,” he said. “We’re going to be really good at communication. We’re going to be really good trusting each other. Last but not least, we are going to have accountability for each other.”
This story first appeared on amny.com.