NEW YORK – Luis Rojas’ fate as manager of the New York Mets will likely be determined before the team hires a president of baseball operations.
As the disappointing 2021 season draws to a close, New York has an option on Rojas’ contract for next year. The club plan to sign a new baseball boss this offseason, but team president Sandy Alderson said Wednesday he and first-year owner Steve Cohen have yet to start contacting potential candidates.
So it looks like Alderson and Cohen will decide soon after the end of the season to retain Rojas, rather than the newcomer ultimately placed in charge.
“Whether this management decision is made after this person is hired or before is hard to say,” Alderson said. “But I would say given the timing, that decision will probably be made before we have someone in charge of baseball operations.”
Rojas is 101-117 in two seasons as manager of the Mets. He praised him earlier this year when New York led the NL East for three months, but the team has collapsed since early August without injuring Jacob deGrom and was knocked out of the playoffs with more than ‘a week to play.
âI’m very committed to the process. But ultimately results matter. And if you don’t get good results over a period of time, the process may not survive,â Alderson said. “So I appreciate all those positives that have been mentioned over the year – you know Luis’s relationship with the players etc. But at the end of the day we have to be ruled to some extent not only by the process and by what goes into the results, but the results themselves.
Alderson, general manager of the Mets from 2010 to 2018, was brought back as team president by Cohen last November when he bought the franchise from the Wilpon and Katz families.
The team originally intended to hire a president of baseball operations last offseason, but were unable to interview top targets employed by other clubs, and at least one was not interested in come to New York.
The Mets therefore changed course, hiring Jared Porter as general manager to lead baseball operations under Alderson. Porter was quickly fired after it was revealed that he sent unwanted, sexually explicit text messages to a reporter in 2016 while working for the Chicago Cubs.
Zack Scott was promoted to acting chief executive and then put on paid administrative leave this month after being arrested on August 31 for impaired driving. Scott pleaded not guilty in court.
Since then, Alderson, 73, has served as Managing Director.
âI originally signed here as team president, not as president of baseball operations or general manager,â Alderson said. “And so what I’m hoping (is) that we can find someone who is going to invest in the team for the long term and who is going to step into the weeds and provide us with the leadership and the expertise that we need the baseball side of things. From my perspective I’m happy to hand this over to someone we find who is more than capable. “
Alderson acknowledged that the process could take several weeks, but said he was confident the research would ultimately be successful.
âIt could change the circumstances in terms of which group of people we decide to contact, which could be somewhat different from what existed last year,â Alderson said. “I am optimistic that we will end up in the right place. How exactly we will get there and who is up for grabs.”
In the meantime, that could also let Alderson preside over the start of free agency. The market opens five days after the World Series ends, and the Mets have critical decisions to make about several of their top players who can become free agents, including infielder Javier BÃ¡ez, outfielder Michael Conforto. and pitchers Marcus Stroman, Noah Syndergaard, Aaron Loup and Jeurys Familia.
âA lot of decisions are dictated by the baseball calendar,â said Alderson.
Alderson also said he expects deGrom to be ready to resume a normal workload next year. The two-time Cy Young Award winner was 7-2 with a 1.08 ERA in the first half, but has not pitched since July 7 due to a healed right elbow injury, according to the ‘team.
Rojas said the right-hander has been feeling good in two recent bullpen sessions before he and the club agreed this week that it made no sense for him to pitch another game this season.
âAt the moment we are very confident with the condition of his elbow and the fact that he was able to increase not at full power but very close,â said Alderson. “So as we get into the offseason I think we’re as confident in him as ever and expect him to be full out when spring training begins.”