If you’ve read my work, it’s no surprise I form emotional attachments to the Miami Marlins organization and its players. Within the last few weeks, the team has traded two players that pulled on my heartstrings during their tenure in Miami: Miguel Rojas and Pablo López.
There were rumblings the team was actively shopping longtime shortstop Miguel Rojas, but that didn’t make the news of his trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers sting any less.
As I’m sure you’ve read by now, Rojas made his Major League debut with the Dodgers in 2014. His time in Los Angeles was brief. After 85 games, the Dodgers traded him to the Marlins as part of a seven-player deal in the offseason.
Rojas played 870 games for the Fish across eight seasons, making him the team’s longest tenured player at the time of last week’s trade. He became the Marlins’ unofficial captain during that time, anchoring a revolving door of young players donning Miami Marlins uniforms.
When the new ownership took over, Rojas reiterated his desire to remain in Miami. The front office felt the same way, wanting him to assume a leadership role in the clubhouse.
I wrote about my affinity for Miggy Ro at the end of the 2021 season for Pitcher List, mentioning the mutual faith there was between Rojas and the organization when the new ownership group took over. The veteran shortstop assumed a leadership role in the clubhouse, telling Jordan McPherson of the Miami Herald, “I just want to be that guy, that leader by example and the guy they feel comfortable around. I want everybody who steps in this clubhouse to feel comfortable and to be themselves. If you’re a good guy and they feel comfortable around you, you’ll probably do good things on the field.”
That quote was the basis for my article at Pitcher List, along with something else he said on the Chris Rose Rotation during the summer of 2021.
"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
When the news broke of the Marlins trading Rojas to Dodgers, that was the quote that I immediately thought of.
Like I said when news of the trade broke, Rojas seemed like a genuinely good person who wanted nothing more than to see the team succeed. He was “one of the few players who embraced being a Marlin,” someone replied. There aren’t a ton of guys like that, which makes losing them sting even more.
Pablo López was another one of those guys. The right-handed pitcher had been involved in persistent trade rumors prior to Friday’s completed deal. I was working on a Pablo López appreciation post as the 2022 trade deadline approached—Carry On, Stirrup Son—and was actually surprised when the deadline came and went and he remained a Marlin. I still decided to publish it, choosing to appreciate the player and person while he was still a part of the team.
There were so many great moments during López’s five seasons with the Fish. One that sticks with me was his MLB record-setting nine strikeouts to begin a game on Jully 11, 2021, also the one-year anniversary of his father’s passing.
López pitched incredibly in the first half of 2022 and was able to stay healthy for the duration of the season, something he had not done up to that point in this career. The Marlins honored López with the team’s nomination for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award. He also earned the organization’s Charlie Hough Good Guy Award in 2020 and 2022.
Pablo López is one of the kindest humans to ever wear a Marlins uniform. Just an incredibly genuine, down to earth man who wears a permanent smile. He will be missed tremendously.— Craig Mish (@CraigMish) January 20, 2023
I know baseball is a business and trading players isn’t personal, but there are always guys who fans come to love both on and off the field. Miguel Rojas and Pablo López were those kinds of players. Although no longer in a Marlins uniform, I’ll be rooting for them all the same.