PORT ST. LUCIE — Luis Rojas’ first full-squad meeting with the Mets on Monday included a show of hands as to how many players had previously played in the minor leagues for the new manager.
“I think it was about three-quarters of the room,” Dellin Betances said.
Rojas, who spent eight seasons managing in the minor leagues for the Mets before last year becoming the team’s quality control coach, brought an energy to the clubhouse with his remarks to the team, according to Wilson Ramos. The rookie manager spoke to the 63 players in camp plus about 50 Mets officials, including team owner Fred Wilpon.
Though soft-spoken and measured in his press conferences, the 38-year-old Rojas came across as managerial to his players.
“He is talking like he’s the manager, like he commands everybody here, so I like that,” Ramos said. “Last year he was quiet, but I like the new Luis. He tried to give us some confidence, so that is very important for us. He knows everybody here, a lot of guys respect him, so that is very cool.”
Rojas initial remarks to the full squad came after a tumultuous offseason for the Mets in which two managers — Mickey Callaway and Carlos Beltran — departed the organization. Callaway was fired and Beltran “parted ways” with the Mets after only 77 days for his role in the Astros’ illegal sign-stealing scheme.
In his remarks, Rojas mentioned the World Series experience in the room and players such as Jacob deGrom and Rick Porcello who have won Cy Young awards.
“I remember this team playing real well toward the second half,” Betances said, who arrived as a free agent from the Yankees. “So just kind of continue to what we did as a group last year, what they did, and just add on to this year.”
Rojas had previously addressed the pitchers and catchers before their first initial workout, last week.
“But being there with the entire squad, that was a pretty special moment, to be able to voice a message there and talk about different things of the team, how we know each other and our values as a team,” Rojas said. “We talked big about communication and trust and accountability, which are always the things I bring up as our values and we talked about preparation and our talent and how we’re going to always motivate each other in spring training throughout the season and on top of that have fun.”