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


Nine 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 trade for middle-infield prospect Jacob Amaya. 

Rojas provides the Dodgers another choice at shortstop past Gavin Lux, who gave the impression to be the obvious candidate to exchange 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 finest major-league season final 12 months because the Dodgers’ second baseman. At the Winter Meetings, each Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and supervisor Dave Roberts expressed confidence in Lux at shortstop however stopped in need of totally 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 flexibility to both preserve 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’ main shortstop since 2017 however has performed all 4 infield spots throughout his nine-year profession. He is coming off a season wherein he slashed .236/.283/.323 with a 72 OPS+, which was his lowest mark since 2016. He was hampered by a wrist difficulty 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 wherein he posted a career-best .888 OPS in 40 video games. 

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Still, 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 12 months was considered one of his finest. 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 preserve Kershaw’s no-hitter intact that 12 months with a fabulous play down the third-base line. But 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 12 months between Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City, profiles equally to Rojas, recognized extra for his glove than his bat. ZiPS tasks Amaya to be a 1.2 WAR participant subsequent 12 months 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 choice in Rojas, persevering with their development of strikes on the margins this offseason. 

While the Padres loaded up by including Xander Bogaerts — and whereas many contenders have both saved their prime free brokers, spent on new ones or completed 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 web loss in worth (primarily based on 2022 wins above alternative) within the sport. 

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The inactivity gave the impression to be in an effort to present 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 shocking division collection exit will start with a lesser payroll than the division rivals who triggered it. 

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

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