Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen stood alongside new manager Luis Rojas after introducing him to the media on Friday, going into detail about why he was chosen for the job to replace Carlos Beltran.
"His communication not only to the players, but you'll learn his communication with you will be genuine," Van Wagenen said. "And certainly from a management standpoint, the ability to know that when we speak to Luis, it's gonna be the truth."
After Rojas' press conference was over, Van Wagenen went 1-on-1 with SNY's Steve Gelbs and provided further explanation on the choice of Rojas.
"Clearly familiarity. He had a long history with the organization," Van Wagenen said when asked what set Rojas apart during the latest search. "He mentioned in his opening comments that he considers this his baseball family. It's the only organization that he's ever worked in outside of being a player. We got a chance to know him, at least personally, over the course of the last year on the major league coaching staff."
According to Van Wagenen, the Mets' players -- many of whom were managed by Rojas in the minors and most of whom were coached by him last year -- also had an impact on the choice.
"The players knew him, the players trusted him, and he understands exactly what we're trying to accomplish in spring training this year -- because he's helped build our program. That was a big part of it."
Shortly after news of the hire of Rojas broke, Mets players -- including Pete Alonso and Marcus Stroman -- took to social media to laud the choice. And Van Wagenen delved into why.
"He has history with them," Van Wagenen said. "All of our homegrown players have had some touchpoint with him in one way or another. His authenticity as a coach and his commitment to their success as a player development guy is impactful on young players. The fact that he also stressed winning along the way in the minor leagues I'm sure has something to do with it. They're proud of him, they like him. This group has a real bond because they're homegrown players and they're an extension of that."
The players reached out "proactively" during the first manager search (when Rojas came up short), according to Van Wagenen, who said they had a "pretty good handle" at that point on what the players thought of him.
When the second search began, the players reached out again.
"They said 'this is our guy,' Van Wagenen explained. "They said 'he knows who we are.' One of the players specifically said 'he knows us, we have a good thing going, let's keep it going and let's not pivot to regroup or go in a different direction.'"
As far as a trait of Rojas' that stood out to Van Wagenen, the GM cited consistency.
"He's just steady," Van Wagenen said. "He is unflappable. He's a guy that when he speaks, it has impact. Seeing him interact every day in a quiet but confident way with the players as a quality control coach was definitely eye-opening. But even more so was over the course of the last few months with the new coaching staff, he had a leadership voice and he was starting to demonstrate some of the logistical execution strategies that we were gonna need in a manager. And he was already way ahead."
"We felt confident about his leadership, because he's gonna have to multi-task in this job," Van Wagenen noted when asked about the adjustment from managing in the minors to the majors. "As a minor league manager, it all falls on your shoulders. ... We think the leadership qualities that he demonstrated in the minor leagues will transfer very well to running the games here."