Rojas' extension 'an easy thing to do' for MIA

Shortstop on two-year deal: 'I showed my commitment that I wanted to stay here'

October 28th, 2021

MIAMI -- , the Marlins' longest-tenured player and unofficial captain, wants to bridge the gap between the organization's build and perennial contention.

Both sides took that first step on Thursday, as the Marlins and Rojas agreed to a two-year extension that will keep him with the club through 2023. Rojas, whose $5.5 million vesting option for '22 was activated when he reached 500 plate appearances in '21, will make $10 million total on the deal, according to MLB Network Insider Jon Heyman.

"I showed my commitment that I wanted to stay here and I wanted to be [here] throughout the whole process," said Rojas, who approached the front office early this year about an extension. "I just want to make sure that I continue to be the rock that builds the foundation for this process, knowing that we have a lot of talent. But at the end of the day, my commitment is for me to continue to be a good shortstop on an everyday basis, and if they think I'm the best shortstop for this organization. And even when I'm not the shortstop, I can play every other position in the infield. I can be a good backup player, I can be a lot of things."

Rojas, who will turn 33 on Feb. 24, has slashed .271/.325/.375 with 32 homers and 37 stolen bases in 730 games -- ninth most in club history -- across seven seasons. When the Marlins acquired him from the Dodgers in the Dee Strange-Gordon trade in 2014, he was a late-inning defensive replacement. By '19, he was the everyday shortstop and became the first Marlin to receive an extension under Bruce Sherman/Derek Jeter's ownership group that September.

A National League Gold Glove Award finalist in 2020, Rojas ranked third among MLB shortstops with 10.3 Defensive Runs Above Average per FanGraphs in '21. He also set career highs with 30 doubles, 37 walks and 13 stolen bases despite playing with a fracture in his left index finger since mid-June. Rojas was scheduled to visit the doctor later Thursday to determine whether surgery would be necessary.

Off the field, Rojas has been the club's Roberto Clemente Award nominee each of the past two years.

"For us, this was an easy thing to do," general manager Kim Ng said. "Miguel embodies a lot of the things that we want as Marlins: on the field, [a] consummate professional, a great stabilizer for our defense. In terms of a leader, there's no one who showed more leadership skills out on that field than Miguel Rojas."

This is just the start of what should be an active offseason for Miami. Another extension candidate for the Marlins is ace Sandy Alcantara. The 26-year-old right-hander, who became the first Marlin to record 200 innings and 200 strikeouts in a season since A.J. Burnett (2002), will be arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter. Before the regular season ended, Jeter said the organization would be talking with free agents or exploring other moves to improve the offense, which finished near the bottom of the league in several categories in ‘21. Ng reiterated on Thursday the club would be pursuing multiple bats.

Rojas would like to spend the rest of his career in Miami -- and win. He got a taste of it in 2020, when the club made the postseason for the first time in 17 years and advanced to the NL Division Series.

"Bottom line is for me to continue to get better every single year to help this organization get to where we're going to get, which is winning a championship and being on the right side of things," Rojas said. "Winning, and winning it all. It's not just making it to the playoffs. It's not just being a competitive team."