When the Los Angeles Dodgers traded No. 15 prospect Jacob Amaya for shortstop Miguel Rojas, fans were understandably asking questions. Why are the Dodgers inheriting more salary? Did the organization not believe in Amaya? What does this mean for Gavin Lux?
It seems they weren't alone in wondering any of that, either. Former general manager Jim Bowden -- who's fairly polarizing with his assessments and takes -- has his doubts about this deal. Criticize his analysis all you want, but the man is a former baseball exec and we, the fans, sadly are not.
In his most recent piece for The Athletic, Bowden graded the top 10 most impactful trades of the offseason, with the Dodgers-Marlins deal coming in at No. 10. Not that impactful but ... the second-worst grade of all. And not in the Dodgers' favor.
What Bowden failed to mention in his blurb was Rojas' wrist issues, which should maybe knock this grade down even lower. Rojas underwent wrist surgery in October and likely needs another procedure soon (even though he's expected to be ready for spring training).
Whether he's ready or not, a surgically-repaired wrist probably isn't going to help him dig out of a career-worst campaign on the offensive side of the ball.
Former MLB GM Jim Bowden doesn't like Dodgers' trade for Miguel Rojas
"The Marlins believe Amaya could be their everyday shortstop as early as this year, and they’re convinced he’s major-league-ready defensively ... Over the past three years, Rojas has been in serious decline. His OBP has dropped from .392 (in the shortened 2020 season) to .322 to .283 in that span, and he’s also lost a step or two in his defensive range. He profiles more as a utility player than the everyday shortstop he’s been for Miami since 2018. Rojas does bring leadership and other intangibles and is a terrific teammate."- Jim Bowden of The Athletic
Now, we're inclined to say we trust the Dodgers' prospect evaluation more than the Marlins', but Amaya was knocking on the door of the MLB roster and could've been a young backup option to Lux or even an eventual starter should the Dodgers have shifted Lux back over to second base (which has been speculated after the arrival of Rojas). If he's MLB-ready from a defensive perspective, why not just roll the dice with him instead of acquiring an injured, defense-first 34-year-old to play the same role?
There's inherent value in Rojas' presence. He's a nine-year MLB veteran and has been regarded as a tremendous clubhouse presence. But how much more of that do the Dodgers need with Freddie Freeman, Mookie Betts, Clayton Kershaw, Chris Taylor and Max Muncy already on the roster?
With Rojas' role undefined, the various questions still surrounding his acquisition, and the Marlins' confidence in Amaya, Bowden's grade of a "C" seems perfectly fair, even though we're still waiting on plenty of answers.