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2023 Dodgers in review: Miguel Rojas

Rojas posted a .749 OPS with five home runs in the final two months of the regular season

Detroit Tigers v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Miguel Rojas made his return to the Dodgers this past season after spending the previous eight seasons with the Miami Marlins.

Rojas was acquired from Miami by the Dodgers on January 11 in exchange for infield prospect Jacob Amaya. With Gavin Lux assuming the role as the starting shortstop ahead of spring training, Rojas was projected to play second fiddle behind Lux.

As spring training began, the Dodgers quickly received terrible news, as Lux tore his right ACL while running to third base, rendering him unavailable for the entirety of the 2023 regular season. The Dodgers were left with little choice but to make Rojas the new starting shortstop to begin the season.

Rojas impressed throughout spring training, as he slashed .283/.353/.478, smashing two home runs and driving in seven, walking four times and striking out just three times in 51 plate appearances.

Before the start of the regular season, Rojas admitted that he played through nagging injuries in 2022, which hampered his total offensive output. Rojas was determined to be healthy throughout the season and to up his power production as well.

In Rojas’ first game as a Dodger since September 28, 2014, he went two for four with a double and a run scored in the opening day victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks. After that point, Rojas went hitless over his next three games before it was revealed that suffered a mild groin strain during the final game of the opening series against Arizona. Rojas would play seven more games in the month of April before landing on the 10-day injured list with a left hamstring strain.

Rojas underwent a brief rehab assignment at Single-A Rancho Cucamonga, and posted excellent numbers across seven plate appearances. After two games with the Quakes, Rojas was activated off the injured list on May 1.

Rojas struggled to regain his footing with the Dodgers through the first two months, as he carried a meager .223/.261/.268 slash line with just four RBI at the end of May.

Rojas’ offensive struggles continued well within the middle of the season, as he carried a .218/.274/.263 slash line at the end of July, failing to connect for a single home run and driving in just 12 runners up to that point in the season.

Rojas was still determined to prove that he could be a reliable bat at the bottom of the Dodgers’ lineup, and thankfully for him, his final two months of the regular season showed that he could in fact contribute. He connected for his first Dodger home run since 2014 on August 2 against the Oakland Athletics, and from there, continued to be a serviceable bat.

From August 2 until his final game in the regular season on September 28 against the San Francisco Giants, Rojas turned into a slightly better than average hitter, slashing .271/.320/.429 in that span. After going over four months without connecting for a single home run and driving in just 12 runners, Rojas smashed five over the final two months while driving in 19 runners.

Although Rojas took a step back offensively in 2023, his defense remained supreme. Rojas put up 12 defensive runs saved in 2023, ranking 24th among all players, and posted 6 outs above average, putting him in the 91st percentile for that stat.

Rojas also made his major league debut on the mound in 2023, as he appeared in three games as a pitcher.

2023 particulars

Age: 34

Stats: 124 G, .236/.290/.322, 16 2B, 5 HR, 31 RBI, 8 SB, 69 wRC+, 3 IP, 6.00 ERA, 5.26 FIP, 1.333 WHIP, 81 ERA+, 1.2 rWAR, 0.6 fWAR

Salary: $5 million

Game of the year

Rojas’ best game as a Dodger would come on September 18 in a win over the Detroit Tigers. In a game that was dedicated to another fellow Miguel — soon-to-be hall of fame infielder Miguel Cabrera — Rojas added some insurance to the Dodgers’ lead by smacking his fifth and final home run of the season, going two for three in the win. His five total bases in the game were tied for the most he had in a single game in the 2023 season.

Roster status

Rojas will make $5 million in 2024. The Dodgers have a $5 million club option for 2025, with a $1 million buyout.