Back in the offseason when the Los Angeles Dodgers and Miami Marlins completed a gentlemen's agreement in a one-for-one swap of prospect Jacob Amaya and veteran Miguel Rojas, many LA fans wondered how that deal would help the team.
Rojas had just one year left on his deal, was entering his age-34 season, and was coming off a career-worst offensive season. The Dodgers already had Gavin Lux as their starting shortstop, as well as Chris Taylor handling utility duties (not to mention Max Muncy's defensive versatility).
They couldn't get better value for a top-15 prospect? Amaya wasn't exactly a game-breaker, but had progressed nicely to Triple-A and looked like he could provide decent all-around production at the MLB level in the not-too-distant future.
Additionally, a top-15 prospect in the Dodgers organization might as well be a top-10 in most others, so it inherently felt Amaya carried more value than what the Dodgers got in return.
Well, it turns out the Dodgers scouting department once again knew what it was doing when they gave the green light to trade the 24-year-old. Despite a hot streak to begin the month of May, Amaya is hitting .244 with a .685 OPS and has made five errors in 25 games at shortstop.
Dodgers trading Jacob Amaya to Marlins ended up not really mattering
We're obviously not crowning a winner here, but the Dodgers seemingly knew Amaya probably wouldn't be ready as quickly as they would have preferred. And even though the Rojas acquisition feels a bit pointless, it's still better to have a Grade-A defender and influential clubhouse voice instead of playing the waiting game with an important role on the roster.
His depressed offense is notable as well because the Texas League and Pacific Coast League are known to be specifically advantageous for hitters. Amaya's expanded his skill set at the plate in both of those leagues over the previous two seasons.
Rojas has been in and out of the lineup with multiple nagging ailments, but his presence has been felt on numerous occasions (despite the fact they've largely been few and far between). The Dodgers extended the veteran through 2024 as well (for $6.75 million), so they'll hopefully get more value from the trade assuming Rojas can return to full strength and be the utility infielder LA envisioned.
As for Amaya? He was squeezed off the Marlins Opening Day roster after the Luis Arraez acquisition, and the Marlins have preferred Jon Berti (.680 OPS, 87 OPS+) so far in 2023. After Lux's injury, the Dodgers have made do with Rojas, Taylor and Mookie Betts providing above-average production at the position. It's not the most ideal plan, but it's certainly better than the alternative.