After an ineffective 2021-22 MLB offseason and quiet trade deadline earlier this month, it’s fair to worry that the Marlins are going nowhere. They have hesitated to make tough decisions and the team has suffered because of it. Steps need to be taken this coming winter if they want a real chance to be competitive. One of those tough decisions might be to upgrade at shortstop, removing Miguel Rojas from the everyday role he has held for several years.
No one can question Rojas’ leadership and how well he’s established in the Marlins’ fanbase. But the Marlins need more than that and they could take advantage of what is projected to be another great class of free-agent shortstops. Making a big splash by signing a star at a premium defensive position would legitimize this rebuilding process and send a message to everybody on the team.
Trea Turner and Dansby Swanson will see their club-controlled years expire at the end of the season while Carlos Correa and Xander Bogaerts are expected to opt out of their deals with the Twins and Red Sox, respectively. That gives the Marlins options capable of bringing a winning mindset and refresh the clubhouse.
In his eighth year as a Marlin, Rojas is declining offensively. The 33-year-old is slashing just .235/.288/.332 and shows a poor .620 OPS across 102 games. His OPS+ is at 75, his worst mark since 2016. His performance hasn’t gotten any better lately. He has grounded into four double plays since the All-Star break (tied for most on Miami), and across 11 August games entering Monday, he is 6-for-40 with no extra-base hits, just two RBIs, seven strikeouts, and a .150/.239/.150 slash line.
Before this campaign got underway, the Marlins did make some moves, acquiring Joey Wendle, Avisaíl García, and Jorge Soler, for example. However, they can’t be satisfied with what they’ve done and won’t be allowed by their fans to just bring back the same roster in 2023, hoping for better outcomes.
You should expect the Fish to make a major acquisition during this upcoming offseason via trade or signing. We all know they were listening to offers for Pablo López before the trade deadline and this might be the perfect timing to structure a deal around him that sends MLB-ready talent back to Miami. Trading a starting pitcher away to revitalize the struggling offense looks inevitable.
So, going back to Rojas, he’s set to make $5 million in the final year of his contract in 2023. Securing a new shortstop would not force him off the Marlins—he has the skill set to continue contributing, even if it’s in a smaller role. Defensive metrics love what he’s done with the glove this season and he has a history of playing first base, second base and third base when needed. At this stage of his career and knowing the kind of professional Miggy Ro is, it’s hard to think he won’t accept such a decision considering it could be what’s best for the team.
I’ve always said the Marlins need to improve position by position and that means learning to say goodbye to some players and opening the doors for others. Rojas’ time to go could be approaching. Regardless, the Marlins should be active now in searching to find a game-changing shortstop at the right price.
What do you say?
Should Miggy Ro be the starting shortstop for the Marlins in 2023?
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