The Los Angeles Dodgers have not been very active this offseason, but the team still managed to make a trade for a familiar face. Los Angeles sent local infield prospect Jacob Amaya to the Miami Marlins for Miguel Rojas, who last played for the Dodgers in 2014.
Rojas' numbers in recent years are not very exciting, but the Dodgers are not asking him to be at the heart of the lineup. The 33-year-old infielder will serve as a veteran presence that gives the Dodgers more versatility off the bench.
If all goes as planned, the Dodgers won't need Rojas to be anything more than a rotational infielder who makes the occasional spot start. Max Muncy and Freddie Freeman are the two constants in the infield while the team is hoping to get more production out of youngsters Gavin Lux and Miguel Vargas.
Rojas shared on "The Chris Rose Rotation" that he's already connected with Vargas and several other young players in the Dodgers farm system. After a shaky 50 plate appearances for the young infielder in 2022, Dodgers fans will be juiced to hear what Rojas has to say about Vargas.
"They have a young phenom that's going to be part of the mix as well, I'm understanding, Miguel Vargas. He's Cuban, he's living in Miami and we have already been in touch because he reached out and said he wants to work with me on defense. "- Rojas on The Chris Rose Rotation
Miguel Rojas calls Dodgers teammate Miguel Vargas a phenom
Vargas is going to play a very important role on the Dodgers this season. The team lost a massive fan favorite in Justin Turner, who didn't have a great season in 2022 but has been a beacon of consistency at the hot corner for nearly a decade.
Swapping Turner for J.D. Martinez will help make up for losing JT. Getting Vargas to produce like he did in the minor leagues would be icing on the cake. As crazy as it sounds, the Dodgers could have a better lineup in 2023 if Vargas hits his ceiling, or comes close to it.
In 113 games at the AAA level last season, the 23-year-old slashed .304/.404/.511 with 17 home runs and 82 RBI. That's a 150-game pace of 22 home runs and 108 RBI. Turner slugged 13 home runs with 81 RBI in 128 games last season.
Having Rojas in the clubhouse to work with Vargas defensively is a huge blessing for the Dodgers as well. While Turner started to get worse with age, for a long time he was one of the best defensive third basemen in the entire league. Defense is not Vargas' strong suit, so it is important that he absorbs everything he can from Rojas.
Hopefully Rojas' assessment of Vargas being a phenom is correct. This is a new era of Dodgers baseball with a lot of young talent that has to step up to the plate and follow up an iconic core that won a World Series.