Dodgers proceed offseason of strikes on the margins with Miguel Rojas commerce

9 years after serving to protect Clayton Kershaw’s no-hitter, infielder Miguel Rojas is a Dodger once more.

After shedding Trea Turner to the Phillies final month and sitting out of the free-agent shortstop sweepstakes, the Dodgers bolstered their depth on the place by buying Rojas from the Marlins on Wednesday in change for middle-infield prospect Jacob Amaya. 

Rojas provides the Dodgers an alternative choice at shortstop past Gavin Lux, who appeared to be the obvious candidate to interchange Turner on the place, and Chris Taylor, who can now spend extra time within the outfield. 

Lux got here up as a shortstop however loved his greatest major-league season final yr because the Dodgers’ second baseman. On the Winter Conferences, each Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and supervisor Dave Roberts expressed confidence in Lux at shortstop however stopped wanting absolutely committing to the 25-year-old because the starter on the place. 

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

Now, the Dodgers have the power to both maintain Lux at second base and begin Rojas at shortstop or shift Lux again to shortstop and use Rojas as a utility participant. 

Rojas has served because the Marlins’ major shortstop since 2017 however has performed all 4 infield spots throughout his nine-year profession. He’s coming off a season through which he slashed .236/.283/.323 with a 72 OPS+, which was his lowest mark since 2016. He was hampered by a wrist challenge that required offseason surgical procedure, although he has been a below-average hitter in 4 of the previous 5 seasons. The exception was a shortened 2020 season through which he posted a career-best .888 OPS in 40 video games. 

Nonetheless, he has managed to build up 10.9 wins above alternative over the previous six seasons due to his protection. His age-33 season final yr was one in all his greatest. Rojas’ 15 defensive runs saved at shortstop ranked second amongst all certified gamers on the place, whereas his 10 outs above common ranked tied for sixth. 

The Dodgers know the protection Rojas can present. 

Rojas made his main league debut for the Dodgers in 2014 and helped maintain Kershaw’s no-hitter intact that yr with a wonderful play down the third-base line. However after hitting .181 over 85 video games, he was traded that December in a deal that introduced Kiké Hernández and Austin Barnes to Los Angeles. 

Amaya, who had a .795 OPS with 17 house runs and 6 stolen bases final yr between Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma Metropolis, profiles equally to Rojas, identified extra for his glove than his bat. ZiPS tasks Amaya to be a 1.2 WAR participant subsequent yr with a 77 OPS+, whereas Steamer forecasts Rojas as a 1.8 WAR participant with a 93 wRC+.

The Dodgers opted for the extra confirmed possibility in Rojas, persevering with their development of strikes on the margins this offseason. 

Whereas the Padres loaded up by including Xander Bogaerts — and whereas many contenders have both stored their high free brokers, spent on new ones or executed each (see: Mets, Yankees) — the Dodgers have largely stayed out of the high-end free-agent market apart from re-signing Kershaw. 

They’ve watched Trea Turner, Justin Turner, Tyler Anderson, Andrew Heaney, Cody Bellinger, Chris Martin, Tommy Kahnle, Joey Gallo and Hanser Alberto all discover new groups whereas including Kershaw, Noah Syndergaard, J.D. Martinez, Shelby Miller, J.P. Feyereisen, Yonny Hernandez and now Rojas. As Ben Clemens of FanGraphs wrote final week, it’s the most important internet loss in worth (based mostly on 2022 wins above alternative) within the sport. 

The inactivity appeared to be in an effort to offer their up-and-coming prospects an opportunity to play and to reset their luxury-tax penalties — solely, with Rojas due $5 million in 2023 and with the Dodgers on the hook to pay Trevor Bauer $22.5 million even after designating him for task, they’ve now risen barely over the primary tax threshold by about $4 million. 

It’s nonetheless significantly under what the Dodgers have spent in recent times and ranks fifth in baseball behind the Mets, Yankees, Padres and Phillies. As of now, their try and rebound from a surprising division sequence exit will start with a lesser payroll than the division rivals who induced it. 

Rowan Kavner covers the Dodgers and NL West for FOX Sports activities. He beforehand was the Dodgers’ editor of digital and print publications. Observe him on Twitter at @RowanKavner.

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