The flashes of excitement on his face were clear. Sporting a New York Yankees cap and polo shirt, new Patriots manager Julio Mosquera met with the media for the first time on Wednesday evening via Zoom conference call. While Mosquera sat over a thousand miles south down in Tampa in preparation of minor league spring training beginning later this week, it was quite clear that he was eager to make the trek north to usher in a new era of baseball in Bridgewater.
“I’m very excited, it was an excitement when I got the news that I was going to manage the team,” admitted Mosquera. “Especially the partnership with the Yankees and Somerset, I could not get any more excited because I know some history about that field and some history about the organization and I think it is awesome to be part of that and it’s going to be an exciting year.”
The 49-year old skipper is a veteran on the player development side of things, entering his 16th season in the organization, but his first as a manager in the upper-levels of the system. Mosquera most recently managed Low-A Charleston for two season after managing at Short Season-A Staten Island as well as the Yankees Gulf Coast League club. The Double-A level is generally viewed by talent evaluators as the make-or-break test for many prospects. The pitchers have a more developed arsenal and the hitters bring a more disciplined approach. Is it any different in managing more developed players?
“It’s not different, to be honest,” said Mosquera. “I will have the opportunity to coach some of the players that I have already coached in past years. We already have a relationship with a lot of those players; we already know how they act and some of the things that they are working on.”
Mosquera added, “The relationship that we have, I think, will help us to try and guide them to the right way. We won’t change anything; the way we act or the way we manage them. We’re just going to put them in a good position to succeed. ”
Many of the players that Mosquera will have under his watch this season are coming off a 2020 campaign that was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. With the exception of a select few prospects that were sent to the alternate training site to work last summer, a majority of the eventual roster will be coming off a year-plus competitive layoff.
“I think that is going to be hard for every organization in baseball,” Mosquera said. “It’s tough when you lose so much time. Unfortunately, what we went through and what we are going through is tough for the players and everybody else. We did a tremendous job as an organization. We worked with the players remotely and the players really bought into it.”
Mosquera added, “It’s something that we will have to manage and we will have to see where the players are at when they come into camp and see where they are at when we start the season. We have to monitor that and we also have to understand that it was a lost year without playing time but there was a lot of knowledge that was learned outside of the game.”
Before the 15 minute interview had concluded, the third manager in Patriots history had uttered the word “excited” or a variation of it, more than a dozen times. While fans and players have been away from the ballpark for what feels like an eternity, it is clear that this campaign, the inaugural season for Somerset as a Yankees affiliate, is one that feels just a bit more special and a bit more meaningful for Mosquera. Exciting times, indeed.