Oct 26: Rojas’ deal with Doosan has been made official, per Yoo Jee-ho of Yonhap News. It’s a one year deal that will pay Rojas $1MM, including a $50k signing bonus.
Yoo also notes that Rojas will replace Jose Miguel Fernandez in the Bears’ lineup. Fernandez, 34, has long been a strong contact hitter, and he led the KBO in hits in 2019 and 2020. He saw a drop in power last season, hitting just six home runs after slugging 21 in 2020, but he still maintained an average north of the .300 mark. Overall, Fernandez’ four seasons in the KBO produced a very respectable .329/.392/.458 line.
It’s unclear yet whether Fernandez intends to latch on with another team in Korea, or seek a return to the US. Fernandez previously had a brief stint in the majors with the Angels, hitting .267/.309/.388 across 123 plate appearances in 2018. After four highly productive seasons in the KBO, MLB teams will surely have some interest in giving the Cuban second baseman another look, although a minor league deal seems more likely.
Oct 21: Infielder/outfielder Jose Rojas has been getting attention from multiple Korea Baseball Organization teams, and Rojas looks to be nearing a deal with the Doosan Bears, according to a Naver Sports report (Korean language link). Rojas elected free agency after than accept an outright assignment to the Giants’ Triple-A affiliate in September, after clearing DFA waivers.
That stint on San Francisco’s roster was brief, as the Giants had only just claimed Rojas off waivers from the Angels two weeks prior. Rojas didn’t see any time in the majors during his short run as Giant, and he was changing organizations for the first time in his pro career, after being a 36th-round pick for Anaheim in the 2016 draft.
Rojas now looks to be making a much bigger change of scenery in joining the KBO League. Entering his age-30 season, Rojas made his Major League debut in 2021 and appeared in 61 games with the Angels, before playing in only 22 MLB contests this past season. The versatile Rojas saw time at five different positions with the Halos — both corner outfield positions, second base, third base, and two appearances at first base.
Over 241 career plate appearances in the Show, Rojas has hit .188/.245/.339 with six home runs. Rojas has swung a much mightier bat in the minors, with a .286/.347/.503 slash line and 92 homers over 2327 career PA down on the farm. There seems a decent chance Rojas can carry this production over to the KBO League, hence the number of teams interested in his services. KBO clubs have three roster spots open to non-Korean players, and players new to the KBO League are limited to one-year contracts.