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5 fun facts/memories from Miguel Rojas’ tenure in Miami

Miguel Rojas #19 of the Miami Marlins reacts after hitting a home run in the second inning of Game 1 of the NLDS between the Atlanta Braves and the Miami Marlins at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday, October 6, 2020 in Houston, Texas. Photo by Michael Starghill/MLB Photos via Getty Images

As the Miami Marlins try to make the leap from rebuilding to competitive, they will do so without their longtime captain. Earlier this week, Miami dealt shortstop Miguel Rojas to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Rojas had spent eight years with the Marlins and ranks seventh in franchise history in games played with 870 games.

While Rojas never put up huge offensive numbers, he was a consistent contact hitter for the franchise and played Gold Glove-caliber defense. As he makes his way back to the West Coast, here are five fun facts and/or memories about Rojas’ tenure with the Marlins:

1. Rojas has the Marlins’ last playoff home run

Over the last 19 seasons, the Miami Marlins have made the postseason just once. The most recent player to homer for the Marlins in the playoffs is Rojas. In Game 1 of the 2020 National League Division Series, Rojas led off the second inning in Houston with a solo shot to left field against the Atlanta Braves. The blast vs. Max Fried tied the game at 1-1.

The Marlins would lose the game 9-5 before being shut out over the final two games of the series.

2. Rojas had the walk-off hit to end the longest game in loanDepot Park history

For 11 years now, the Miami Marlins have been playing their home games at loanDepot Park. In terms of innings, the longest game in the ballpark’s history went 17 frames. It was ultimately Rojas who ended the contest.

In just the second game of the 2018 season, the Marlins and Chicago Cubs traded runs in the third inning at what was then known as Marlins Park. For the next 13, the traded zeroes. In the bottom of the 17th, Brian Anderson and Cameron Maybin came through with back-to-back two-out singles. With two on, Rojas lined the second pitch he saw from Brandon Morrow into center field to score Anderson and give Miami the 2-1 victory.

3. Rojas is second all-time in franchise history in defensive wins above replacement (dWAR)

Although Rojas never won a Gold Glove, he was known for his versatility and stellar defense during his time with the Marlins. Rojas ranked first among National League shortstops in fielding percentage in 2022 and will leave Miami second in franchise history in defensive wins above replacement. Rojas’ 6.6 defensive WAR is well above third-place Adeiny Hechavarría’s 5.3 dWAR. All-time, only three-time Gold Glove catcher Charles Johnson has a higher defensive WAR for the Marlins—Johnson posted an 8.6 dWAR over his two stints with the club.

4. Rojas’ Marlins debut came against his former (and current) team

Rojas is once again a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers. It was the Dodgers who Rojas made his Major League Baseball debut for. At the age of 25, Rojas appeared in 85 games for Los Angeles in 2014 before being dealt to Miami that offseason.

It was also against the Dodgers that Rojas made his Marlins debut. Rojas got the start at third base in his first game with the Marlins on June 27, 2015. Rojas went 0-for-3 in a 3-2 victory. It would be five days later before Rojas recorded his first hit as a member of the club, which came off Matt Cain in a 5-4 win over the San Francisco Giants. Rojas went 3-for-4 with a triple in that one.

5. Rojas homered in his first at-bat after recovering from COVID-19 in 2020

The 2020 Major League Baseball season was unlike any other in big-league history. With no fans in the stands during the COVID-19 pandemic, it was the Marlins who infamously had the first outbreak that year. Numerous players were forced to miss time after contracting the virus, including Rojas, who missed 15 games. In his first at-bat back, however, the Miami infielder left the yard against the Washington Nationals. With two runners on in the second inning on Aug. 21, 2020, Rojas blasted a 2-0 pitch from Patrick Corbin over the left-field wall for a three-run shot. That would account for all the Miami scoring in a 3-2 victory as the Marlins halted a five-game losing streak.