It is far from a secret that the Miami Marlins have had a disappointing 2021 season to this point. The Marlins are 11 games under .500 with two weeks before the All-Star break, and are approaching a critical point in determining what next steps to take with this year’s roster. The July 30 trade deadline is just over a month away.
Manager Don Mattingly said the team understands what looms if they do not start playing better.
“I do think it’s something that guys would think about,” Mattingly said. “We do need to get it going.”
The most movable players if the Marlins take a traditional selling approach are veterans approaching free agency. In the final guaranteed year of his contract, the Marlins’ defacto captain Miguel Rojas falls into that bucket. Speaking on The Chris Rose Rotation presented by Jomboy Media, Rojas was asked about the idea of being traded at the deadline.
“If the Miami Marlins think the best way for them to get better is to trade me, go ahead and do it,” Rojas said. “I want the best for this organization and I want this organization to be a championship one.”
"If the Miami Marlins think the best way for them to get better is to trade me, go ahead and do it...I love this organization so much."— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) June 28, 2021
Miguel Rojas on The Chris Rose Rotation addresses the possibility of being dealt at the deadline https://t.co/WHzBb9QYTx pic.twitter.com/AJMCFgSH0H
Whether the Marlins have any plans to move on from Rojas remains to be seen, but it would be silly to not at least listen to offers. The 32-year-old’s competitiveness, defensive versatility and recent track record of excellence (142 wRC+ in 2020) should make him appealing to a wide variety of teams.
It seems pretty clear Rojas would prefer to stay in Miami through season’s end and probably well beyond that. There’s the possibility that Rojas could return as a free agent even after getting traded, but that kind of situation rarely happens.
The real thing that interests me is what his comments say about the feeling within the Marlins clubhouse.
Recent struggles have created a real sense of urgency within the team. Before the Marlins win over the Nationals last Friday, the team had a meeting to try and get the team going. Rojas spoke after the win about what kind of impact the meeting had on him.
“When you hear a guy like Donnie with over 40 years of experience in baseball...and listen to how much confidence he has in us,” Rojas said, “it makes you open your eyes.”
A passionate Marlins Manager Don Mattingly pregame saying he is convinced the club is better than they've shown. Says he has been around the game long enough to know. Said yesterday he told the team we are not just going to accept losing. Sounds like this was a serious meeting.— Craig Mish (@CraigMish) June 26, 2021
Rojas believes the best way to avoid the possibility of breaking up this roster is to start winning games.
“We know as a team we’re not where we wanna be right now,” Rojas said, “but we have some more time to show everybody and to show the organization that we wanna be able to compete for this division.”
Jazz Chisholm Jr. recently said that he believes the Marlins can get it going, and put the wins together that they need to avoid a sell off.
“As a team we’ve been starting to come together and talk to each other a lot more,” Chisholm Jr. said. “I feel like that’s what’s gonna help us to keep going.”
As things stand, the Marlins are 33-44 this season, sitting 8.5 games behind the first place Mets and 12.5 games back of the Padres for the second NL Wild Card spot. At the very least, they will need to play above the .500 mark in July—they’ve been below .500 in each of the first three months—to make the case that the team should be kept together rather than split up. It may not take the Marlins reaching the postseason, but rather just showing they can compete in order to change the direction the organization is heading in.
Whether trading Rojas actually is in the Marlins’ best interest will be determined by the next month of games. Another factor is that Rojas’ leadership ability and intangibles augment his value as a player beyond just his offensive and defensive production.
Rojas is the heart and soul of this team, and the Marlins would look extremely different both on and off the field without him. His comments Monday say a lot about the type of person Miguel Rojas is, and the kind of value he brings to the club. He will do whatever it takes to help the Marlins organization win a championship sometime in the near future.
However, the Marlins front office cannot be expected to keep this roster intact through the trade deadline unless they see the framework of a complete team. The time for the players to prove what they can do on the field is now.