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Why the Miami Marlins moved on from Miguel Rojas and a look at their shortstop plan – AOL

The decision to trade two-time Gold Glove finalist Miguel Rojas to the Los Angeles Dodgers began heating up during the past week before being finalized Wednesday night, Miami Marlins general manager Kim Ng said.
The move also sets in motion an open competition for about a half dozen players to get steady reps as the Marlins’ starting shortstop, the role Rojas had held for the final four years of his eight-year stint with the organization.
Ng on Thursday said she was not ready to name a starting shortstop just yet, considering spring training doesn’t start for another month and Opening Day isn’t until six weeks after that.
“There’s still a lot of offseason left to be had,” Ng said, “and we’ve got to go and keep exploring how to make the club better.”
The latest step in doing that, in Ng’s mind, was the trade with the Dodgers on Wednesday, which sent Rojas to Los Angeles in exchange for 24-year-old infielder prospect Jacob Amaya.
Ng said trading Rojas was “difficult,” especially considering his role on and off the field for the Marlins during his tenure. Rojas grew to be the voice of the clubhouse in addition to being reliable on defense.
“When I did talk to him, I first expressed my gratitude to him and all the things that he’s done for the organization, how long he’s been here and that I’ve always seen him as somebody who’s definitely part of the fabric here,” Ng said. “Miggy has always been a pro with me. He’s been a pro with many, many people. So [Wednesday] night, he did not disappoint either. It was probably a bit difficult for him just because he had been here for so long and has so many memories and what he’s meant to this club, but he basically said something along the lines of ‘I’ve always wanted what’s best for the Marlins, whether that’s keeping me or trading me.’ Again, really appreciate him as a player and as a pro.”
As for Amaya, the 24-year-old is ranked as the club’s No. 13 overall prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. He finished last season with the Dodgers’ Triple A affiliate. In 133 games last season (49 in Double A, 84 in Triple A), Amaya hit .261 with a .795 on-base-plus-slugging mark, 17 home runs (a single-season high), 71 RBI (tied for a single-season high) and 85 runs scored (a single-season high). He also walked in 14.3 percent of his plate appearances.
Defensively, Amaya has played the majority of his games at shortstop, with MLB Pipeline saying he had “the best infield defense in the Dodgers system and that “his quick, reliable hands and a strong, accurate arm help make him a plus defender at shortstop and will serve him well in a projected utility role.”
Ng’s evaluation of Amaya: “He’s a plus defender. I think offensively, one of the things that was very attractive to us about him was his plate discipline and his offensive game overall. … Plate discipline is something that we are very interested in here as we move forward.”
Ng also added the organization anticipates Amaya could make his big-league debut “at some point” in 2023.
But now comes the question: Who plays shortstop?
The three main candidates would appear to be Jazz Chisholm Jr., Joey Wendle and Jean Segura.
Chisholm has primarily played second base since making his MLB debut with the Marlins in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season but sees himself as a future MLB shortstop.
Ng said the organization has not decided yet whether they plan to keep Chisholm at second base or if he will get playing time at shortstop.
Wendle, who is entering his final year of arbitration, has been a utility infielder his entire career. He has only played 647 2/3 total innings at shortstop over 537 MLB games, with his 233 1/3 innings played there last year for Miami being the most in a single season.
That said, Wendle held his own at the position when he played there last year. He had six defensive runs saved and three outs above average last season at shortstop, according to Fangraphs. He also had nine defensive runs saved and two outs above average in 225 1/3 innings at second base and minus-3 defensive runs saved and minus-two outs above average in 304 2/3 innings at third base.
Segura, who signed a two-year deal with the Marlins last week, was brought in with the intention of getting the majority of his playing time at third base. That could change now with Rojas’ departure.
Of Segura’s 1,300 career starts over 11 MLB seasons, 1,278 of them have come in the middle infield (893 at shortstop, 386 at second base). He has made just 21 starts at third base, all of which came in the 2020 season.
Amaya could be an option down the road once the club believes he is MLB ready. Super-utility player Jon Berti could play there in a pinch as well. Prospects Jordan Groshans and Xavier Edwards are also options further down the depth chart.


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