The Dodgers suffered a devastating loss when Gavin Lux went down with what turned out to be a season-ending torn ACL. Lux was slated to be the team’s starting shortstop in 2023, following in the footsteps of Corey Seager and Trea Turner.
Fortunately, the Dodgers traded for veteran infielder Miguel Rojas back in January, as they desperately needed some depth. Now, Rojas is going to find himself as an everyday shortstop on this team, playing 75 to 80 percent of the games at that position, according to manager Dave Roberts.
On the defensive side of the ball, that’s an upgrade for the Dodgers, as Rojas has been one of the better shortstops in baseball over the course of his nine-year career. Offensively, though, not as much. He’s only had two seasons with an OPS+ above the league average of 100, and one of them was the COVID-shortened 2020 season where he played in just 40 games.
So while his offense will definitely be a downgrade from Lux, Roberts believes the team will be able to get more out of his bat than what Rojas has done in previous seasons.
“I think there’s more in there offensively than there has been the last two years,” Roberts said of Rojas. “It’s the defense that’s the primary focus, and I felt that way with Gavin as well at shortstop taking on that position. So he’s going to hit somewhere at the bottom of the order and be the leader and he’s going to put together good at-bats, but it’s not going to be his job to carry us offensively. We expect that professional at-bat and I think with the information that we have and the game prep, I still believe that there’s a lot more than there has been the last two years.”
Rojas will by no means need to be a .300 hitter with power. However, if he can provide good at-bats, making the pitchers work and having a good on-base percentage, the Dodgers won’t feel the loss of Lux as much.
Look for Rojas to give the team professional at-bats, and do his job when he’s up in the lineup. If he needs to get a runner over, he’ll find a way to do that. If he needs to hit a sacrifice fly, he’ll find a way to do that. And if he needs to just work the count and try to find a hole in the defense, then he’ll find a way to do that.
The loss of Lux definitely hurts. But it would’ve hurt a lot more if the Dodgers didn’t acquire Rojas a few months ago.
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