Could Dodgers swipe Marlins reclamation project instead of ace?
By Adam Weinrib
How often is a Rookie of the Year winner traded midway through the very next season? Well, before palming through history, ask yourself another question: How often does said Rookie of the Year winner struggle so hard in Year 2 that introspection becomes the only option?
And how often does the Rookie of the Year winner’s team remain so hopeless and desperate for offense in the season that follows that they’re willing to try anything? How long can the pitching-packed Miami Marlins host Trevor Rogers in their rotation before they start entertaining calls from, say, the Los Angeles Dodgers?
At the moment, Miami’s retained and developed an excellent starting staff, and paired it with a well-below-average offense. That clash of ideologies has led to numerous trade calls for Marlins No. 2 Pablo Lopez, way back to the start of 2021, when Miami was coming off an improbable playoff berth. It’s still quite possible Lopez gets dealt at this year’s deadline, even following a potential long-term injury to recently-promoted top prospect Max Meyer.
But the Marlins typically move in silence; who knew they were plotting a Jazz Chisholm-Zac Gallen swap until the deed was done? Maybe it’s in Miami’s best interest to keep Lopez until the offseason, when he won’t be overshadowed by All-Stars like Luis Castillo and Frankie Montas.
If a team with a penchant for turning around pitching believes in Rogers, is there a chance they can coax the Marlins into moving him? It might take an “overpay” based on his recent stats, but the talent is there. The talent is also beginning to not believe in itself quite so much anymore.
Could the Dodgers take advantage of the fall of Miami Marlins starter Trevor Rogers?
Following up a special season in which the left-hander whiffed 157 men in 133 innings, Rogers has been unable to command his arsenal this season; 83 whiffs in 87.2 innings still seems promising, but he’s also added 99 hits, 41 walks, and an unsightly 1.60 WHIP.
All told, Rogers’ ERA has ballooned to 5.85, even though his hard-hit metrics still show plenty of promise (79th percentile hard-hit percentage, 77th percentile average exit velocity and, most importantly, 88th percentile in fastball spin).
As the season’s dramatics drone on and on, it becomes tougher and tougher to believe that a quick-fix solution is around the corner for the marooned left-hander — both for the franchise and for the man himself. But there’s plenty below the hood to indicate not all is lost. And who’s better at tweaks and adjustments than the men who run the Dodgers’ lab?
The issue isn’t uncovering Rogers’ talent. The issue is appraising his value. And does he hold more value to the Marlins as a starter, or as a chip, just one year after he seemed poised to ascend to a No. 2 role behind Sandy Alcantara?
After a recent start, Rogers indicated that his confidence is wavering:
"“I’ve proven to everybody that I belong here, but then again, in the back of your head, [you’re thinking,] ‘Maybe you weren’t as good,’” Rogers said, his eyes swelling and his voice low as he tries to explain his struggles. “You have to deal with that constantly. I’m constantly telling myself, ‘OK, you’re getting your butt handed to you, but you are good enough.’ That is frustrating considering what happened last year, but that was last year and this year is this year. I’m not doing that at all right now. I look at it as I know I can do it. I’ve just gotta get back to that point.”"
For the pitcher’s own good, maybe it’s high time the Marlins look for a different landing spot. And where better than Los Angeles?