Dodgers continue offseason sideline moves with Miguel Rojas trade

Dodgers continue offseason sideline moves with Miguel Rojas trade

Dodgers continue offseason sideline moves with Miguel Rojas trade

Nine years after helping preserve Clayton Kershaw’s no-hitter, infielder Miguel Rojas is a Dodger again.

After losing Trea Turner to the Phillies last month and sitting out the free agent shortstop draw, the Dodgers bolstered their depth at the position by acquiring Rojas from the Marlins on Wednesday in exchange for the hope of the midfielder Jacob Amaya.

Rojas gives the Dodgers another shortstop option beyond Gavin Lux, who seemed like the most obvious candidate to replace Turner, and Chris Taylor, who can now spend more time in the outfield. .

Lux came in as a shortstop but had his best major league season last year as the Dodgers’ second baseman. In winter meetings, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and manager Dave Roberts expressed confidence in Lux at shortstop, but stopped making a full commitment to the 25-year-old. years as a starter at the post.

“I think just having options creates the most flexibility, and I think Gavin is a really talented player who’s going to help us win a lot of games this year,” Friedman said. “Exactly where it is, we’re not sure yet.”

Now the Dodgers have the option of keeping Lux at second base and throwing Rojas to shortstop or bringing Lux back to shortstop and using Rojas as a utility player.

Rojas has been the Marlins’ primary shortstop since 2017, but has played all four spots in the field in his nine-year career. He just finished a season in which he slashed 0.236/0.283/0.323 with a 72 OPS+, which was his lowest rating since 2016. He was hampered by a wrist problem that required out-of-town surgery. season, although he has been an average under-hitter in four of the past five seasons. The exception was a shortened 2020 season in which he posted a career-high 0.888 OPS in 40 games.

Still, he managed to rack up 10.9 wins over substitution over the past six seasons thanks to his defense. His season at 33 last year was one of his best. Rojas’ 15 defensive points saved at shortstop ranked second among all qualified players for the position, while his 10 over-average outs tied for sixth.

The Dodgers know the defense Rojas can provide.

Rojas made his major league debut for the Dodgers in 2014 and helped keep Kershaw’s no-hitter intact that year with a marvelous play on the third base line. But after hitting .181 in 85 games, he was traded in December in a deal that brought Kiké Hernández and Austin Barnes to Los Angeles.

Amaya, who had a .795 OPS with 17 homers and six stolen bases last year between Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City, shares a similar profile to Rojas, who is better known for his glove than his bat. ZiPS predicts Amaya to be a 1.2 WAR player next year with 77 OPS+, while Steamer predicts Rojas as a 1.8 WAR player with 93 wRC+.

The Dodgers went with the more proven option in Rojas, continuing their trend of moving to the sidelines this offseason.

While the Padres loaded up by adding Xander Bogaerts — and while many suitors either kept their best free agents, spent on new ones, or did both (see: Mets, Yankees) — the Dodgers largely stayed out of the game. high-end free-market agents outside the re-signing of Kershaw.

They saw Trea Turner, Justin Turner, Tyler Anderson, Andrew Heaney, Cody Bellinger, Chris Martin, Tommy Kahnle, Joey Gallo and Hanser Alberto find new teams while adding Kershaw, Noah Syndergaard, JD Martinez, Shelby Miller, JP Feyereisen, Yonny Hernandez and now Rojas. As Ben Clemens of FanGraphs wrote last weekit’s the biggest net loss in value (based on 2022 wins over replacement) in the sport.

The inactivity appeared to be in an effort to give their future prospects a chance to play and reset their luxury tax penalties – only, with Rojas owed $5 million in 2023 and with the Dodgers on the hook to pay Trevor Bauer 22 .5 million even after naming it for an assignment they have now increased slightly above the first tax threshold approximately $4 million.

That’s still considerably below what the Dodgers have spent in recent years and ranks fifth in baseball behind the Mets, Yankees, Padres and Phillies. From now on, their attempt to bounce back from a superb division series exit will start with a lower payroll than the division rivals that caused it.

Rowan Kavner covers the Dodgers and NL West for FOX Sports. He was previously editor of digital and print publications for the Dodgers. Follow him on Twitter at @Rowan Kavner.

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