Luis Rojas has been unemployed for over a month now, after the Mets declined to pick up his option and retain him as manager for 2022. But he may have a chance to stay in the Big Apple, as Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that he was interviewed by the Yankees for one of their base coach jobs and “made a positive impression.”
Rojas had been in the Mets’ organization since 2007, working his way through the ranks of the minor leagues and eventually becoming quality control coach at the big league level in 2019. He was shoved into the manager’s chair after Carlos Beltran was fired in the wake of the Astros’ sign-stealing revelations and lasted two seasons. He hasn’t yet found a new position for 2022, but seems to have interest around the league, as he also interviewed for the Padres’ managerial opening before that was filled by Bob Melvin.
The Yankees are going to have a high degree of turnover in their coaching staff before next season, despite manager Aaron Boone being extended for three more years. First base coach Reggie Willits, third base coach Phil Nevin, hitting coach Marcus Thames and assistant hitting coach P.J. Pilittere have all either stepped down or been let go in recent weeks. If the Yankees end up getting Rojas to put pen to paper, Boone can be supported by a coach with a couple seasons of managerial experience under his belt.
More tidbits from around the league…
- Joe Kelly’s 2021 was arguably his best season since becoming a reliever, but it ended on an ominous note. In the regular season, Kelly logged 44 innings with an ERA of 2.86, strikeout rate of 27.5%, walk rate of 8.2% and groundball rate of 58.9%. But then he left game five of the NLCS with an arm injury that ended his season, and the Dodgers declined his $12MM option for 2022, reportedly because they didn’t expect him to recuperate before spring training. However, it now seems like his outlook isn’t quite so dour, at least according to one medical professional. Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who performed shoulder surgery on Kelly a year ago, provided an update on the situation to Rob Bradford of WEEI. In regards to a team asking his opinion about the hurler, ElAttrache said, “I would tell the front office and their team doctors that I would be very optimistic that he would be ready for spring training.” If the 33-year-old is indeed healthy, he figures to be one of the most sought-after relievers this offseason, alongside guys like Raisel Iglesias, Kenley Jansen and Kendall Graveman, though he’ll likely have to hold a showcase at some point in the new year to prove his effectiveness and assuage the concerns of interested teams.
- Jack Harris of the L.A. Times reports that Angels’ director of pro scouting Nate Horowitz has left the team. In recent weeks, the club has been shuffling a lot of chairs around behind the scenes, as they also parted ways with scouting director Matt Swanson and replaced him by bringing in Tim McIlvaine from the Brewers. The persistent narrative around the Angels in recent years has been their inability to build a well-rounded team to support their marquee players such as Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, Anthony Rendon and Justin Upton. Despite the presence of Trout, arguably the best player of his generation, the Angels haven’t finished above .500 since 2015 and haven’t won a playoff game since 2009. There have been some positive signs recently, as younger players like Jared Walsh, Brandon Marsh, Jo Adell and Patrick Sandoval have started filling some holes around the veterans. But the shake up in the scouting department suggests the club is still trying to reshape their approach to team building in order to give their stars a chance to shine in the postseason.