Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports
"“He will get a good look. Miguel Rojas is an excellent defensive player. He’s played more shortstop than he has any place else, but we’re expanding that a little bit. We’ll continue to expand it into the spring,” Colletti said. “I think he’s game for the situation and he wants the opportunity, and we’re going to give him that chance.”"
Much has been written about Alexander Guerrero, the 27 year old Cuban import who hasn’t played at all since late November and only a limited time before that, battling hamstring injuries the whole way through his winter league stint. Now Guerrero is having visa issues, only a little over 2 months until the season starts, and less than a month until pitchers and catchers report (!!!), it seems like it’s more likely he wont be ready for the opening game in Sydney as opposed to him traveling with the team to Australia.
I really used to think Rojas had about the same possibility as a snowball’s chance in hell as starting on a major league team opening day, but Ned’s continual rave for Rojas should probably render the prospect for him starting a game on the 2014 Dodgers a real possibility.
So if Dee Gordon shows no improvement, or even a semblance of being a major league baseball player, you’re looking at starting Miguel Rojas at 2b. Rojas was signed last year on an NRI deal to come in and be organizational depth out of the Cincinnati Reds organization. Rojas, 25 in February is said to be an incredible defensive player, he probably has the best hands, glove, defensive skills in the whole organization from the middle infield position, but with most excellent defensive players their bat is called into question by the scouts that see him. The question normally isn’t whether they are going to be average or below average with the bat, but whether they are even going to hit enough to be a contributor on a major league roster at all. In Miguel’s case, it’s… pretty hard to imagine him being that, Rojas spent most of last year with the Chattanooga Lookouts (AA affiliate) and hit .233/.303/.307 which wasn’t far from his career line in the minors, .234/.302/.287. In his first taste versus very advanced competition at AAA with the Cincinnati Reds affiliate, he hit a depressing .186 in 44 games in AAA, sadly i’m not sure what’s more likely for his major league career, his AAA line or AA line, neither of which are good. Whether you put any weight into batting average, OBP mixed in with speed potential, or OPS as the main offensive contribution for a hitter, he’s simply not a good hitter.
At least he’s good at this whole defense thing, which definitely counts for something.
What’s funny is that a perfect storm had to occur for Rojas to garner any at all love for any 2b opening in the major leagues, he pretty much had to go to a team who just signed a big ticket, completely unknown player to a large contract (Guerrero), just cut ties with probably the best stopgap for that player (Mark Ellis), had his other main competition be one of the worst defensive SS in the game attempting to transition to 2b to salvage his career (Gordon), and have a GM who, well is Ned Colletti.
Colletti still says Guerrero is “leading the pack” in terms of the possibilities for second base, and while I understand why, he wasn’t paid 28 million to sit on a bench or wallow with fringe major leaguers in AAA, the fact that Guerrero is a leader despite getting about 7 AB’s in winter league after not playing in Cuba in a year and a half shows you the possibilities available to the Dodgers.
Yes the idea that the lineup card on March 22nd actually includes “Miguel Rojas” on it isn’t exactly likely, however we are about an injury away from this coming to fruition, and quite frankly, the fact we must have this discussion is unsettling to say the least.