The Diamondbacks won their arbitration hearing against infielder Josh Rojas, tweets Mark Feinsand of MLB.com. He’ll earn the $2.575MM salary submitted by the team, rather than the $2.9MM sum at which his camp filed.
Rojas, 28, has solidified himself as both a versatile and valuable player for Arizona over the past two seasons, batting a combined .267/.345/.401 with 20 long balls, 57 doubles, four triples and 32 steals in 1060 plate appearances.
Originally acquired from the Astros as part of a four-player return for Zack Greinke, Rojas has gone from a jack-of-all-trades utilityman to the team’s primary third baseman, logging 740 innings at the hot corner in 2022. He’s logged at least 296 innings in both outfield corners and at every infield position other than first base, with defensive metrics generally agreeing that he’s a quality outfielder but a below-average glove on the infield (particularly at shortstop, where he didn’t log an inning in 2022).
With Nick Ahmed healthy again, former top prospect Geraldo Perdomo perhaps vying for a bench spot and top prospect Jordan Lawlar ascending the minor league ladder, Rojas’ days at shortstop are likely all but finished anyhow. He can still play there in a pinch, but as far as 2023 is concerned, he’ll likely split time at third base with veteran Evan Longoria and perhaps shift into the outfield corners and spell any of Corbin Carroll, Alek Thomas or Jake McCarthy from time to time. Because all three of those Carroll, Thomas and McCarthy can handle center, manager Torey Lovullo can slide Rojas into a corner whenever one of those outfielders needs a breather.
This was Rojas’ first trip through the arbitration process. As a Super Two player, he’ll still be eligible for arbitration in each of the next three offseasons. He can’t become a free agent until the completion of the 2026 season.
“Sum is Greater” players generally don’t do as well in Arb due to lack of counting stats, so not surprised the team won this one.
Still love Rojas though, dude is a beast when runners get on.
Remember Blaze Alexander in the SS race; he probably won’t break camp for service time concerns, but I’m convinced he’s the real deal.
Is Emmanuel Rivera out of mix with Longoria signing? Surprising to me.
He is, but Hazen opted to sign an option to push him into a depth role (or allow him reps at AAA) rather than sign a higher quality back up.
This hedges bets in case of Longoria injury (Rivera can jump in 1:1 to fill in LHP PAs) or Rojas/Marte injury (so they can rebalance the RHP/LHP PA workload at 3B to minimize the reps that Rivera sees against RHP).
deGrom Texas Ranger
This was obvious.
Will have a big season
With Chafin signing, the Dbacks successfully addressed all their off-season Goals. These are my Grades for the Dbacks off-season moves. Goals listed in Priority order.
1. Total rebuild of the disastrous bullpen, including signing a Closer. Grade B+
Kept 4 Melancon, Mantiply, Nelson and Ginkel
Added McCough (Closer?), Chafin, Vargas and lots of one-dimensionally intriguing others.
Melancon has a bad year once every 5 years throughout his career. 2022 was his bad 5th year. I expect positive regression towards career numbers in a bounce back year.
2. Trade one of the big 4 LHH CF/OF for a RHH OF with power, to alleviate the team weakness against left handed pitching. Grade A-
Didn’t really get the optimum RHH OF in Lourdes Gurriel, but paired with Moreno it was a very good return for trading Daulton Varsho. Sad to see him go, but had to happen.
3. Get a RHH 3b with some power to balance out lineup against LH pitching . Left handed pitching exposed the team weakness fron the right hand side of the plate. A-
Evan Longoria fits well in the lineup, including fitting into the Dbacks salary structure. Definite upgrade. Great bridge to up and coming young 3b prospects.
4. Upgrade backup catcher. Grade A+
Gabriel Moreno was the biggest and most pleasant surprise get of the off-season. Dbacks should be set at Catcher for the foreseeable future.
5. Add another RH OF bat with some power. Again to correct the extreme team weakness against LH pitching. Grade B+
Lewis still has lots of potential IF he can be/stay healthy. Lewis and Gurriel are the bridge to Kristian Robinson and eventually Drew Jones. Dbacks only need 1 good year from one of them.
6. Give the 4 young stud starting pitchers (Brandon Pfaadt, Ryne Nelson, Drey Jameson and Tommy Henry) soft landings to develop in 2023. Grade B
We all wish the Dbacks could have traded Bumgarner to get him out of the way for these 4 to develop this year, but it is probably best to have MadBum around for at least another 1/2 season. And resigning Davies wasn’t the most exciting signing, yet he’s probably necessary to ensure a soft landing for the big 4. And If one or more of these youngsters falter. more prospects are due next year.
Overall, I rate Hazen’s moves at B+, leaning toward A-. I think there is excitement in Dback land this year, with a nagging expectation that they might just snag a Wild Card spot, but will definitely make another big improvement over last year’s 74 win total, maybe as high as 90 wins, but definitely at or above .500!