Results tagged ‘ Carlos Rojas ’
Will he be playing in 2013?
I don’t know. Rojas continued to be a great-field, no-hit infielder who can play second, short, or third very well. Perhaps Baseball America put it best when it commented on the Orioles’ trading Rojas to reacquire J.C. Romero:
Veteran minor league utility infielder Carlos Rojas can field the shortstop position, but the 28-year-old’s .537 career OPS at the Triple-A level says a lot about his offensive upside.
Whether he plays in 2013 will depend on whether an organization needs a defense-only middle infielder.
Rojas was one of the fifteen Tides to earn a save in 2012. How cool is that?
Rojas did earn as save in 2012; he was used three times as a desperation pitcher, going a total of four innings with a 4.50 ERA. Rojas wasn’t used to save arms in blowouts; he was used because the Tides didn’t have any other pitchers rested and available. Rojas was also charged with a loss when he gave up a home run in a late extra-inning. I don’t remember another instance of a position player earning a save; wins and losses are more common.
Rojas came up with the Chicago Cubs, which apparently has an organizational philosophy of converting non-hitting position players to pitchers if they have good arms; Carlos Marmol, Randy Wells, and Rafael Dolis are beneficiaries of that philosophy. I have no doubt that had Rojas stayed with the Cubs’ organization, they’d have converted him to a pitcher and he’d have a much better shot at a big-league career. In fact, some team may persuade him that it’s in his interest to convert to a pitcher; that’d be another way he’d play in 2013.
Will he come back?
J.C. Romero had one of the stranger seasons in recent memory in 2012. He started the season with the Cardinals but was released in mid-May. Ten days later, he signed with the Orioles who assigned him to Norfolk. Apparently at his request, the Orioles released him in July and he signed with Cleveland, who assigned him to Columbus. Three weeks later, the Orioles traded Carlos Rojas to reacquire him for the major-league bullpen. After two weeks, the Orioles released him again, and no one picked him up.
After his second release by the Orioles, he stated that he was considering retirement. If he doesn’t retire, and he wants to pitch, there’s no reason why he can’t come back as a left-handed relief specialist. He’ll only turn 37 in June. Although he didn’t pitch well in his limited major-league time in 2012, he pitched okay in 2011 and pretty well in 2010; and, he pitched well in AAA in 2012. So there’s no real reason to think that he couldn’t pitch effectively in the majors in 2013.
If he wants to. He apparently has interests outside of baseball, and has earned about $21 million in his baseball career. He may simply decide to pursue his other interests.
There’s something happening here with the Tides and, by extension, the Baltimore Orioles. Saturday night, the Tides used utility infielder Carlos Rojas to perseve a one-run lead in the bottom of the tenth inning at Toledo. Rojas allowec the tying run to reach second with one out but retired the last two Toledo batters to earn a save.
Usually, using a nominal postion player as a pitcher is reserved for desperation times, when there are no other pitchers available, or for mopping up in a blowout loss. The confusing part is that, by all indications, there should have been other pitchers available. The Tides are carrying twelve pitchers, which generally leaves a seven-man bullpen. And the previous day had been a 5-1 Tides win, which normally wouldn’t tax the bullpen. And, in Saturday’s game, the Tides used two relief pitchers — Oscar Villareal for one inning and Miguel Socolovich for three.
Making matters more confusing is that the Tides started a pitcher who had been used exclusively in relief up to this point — Rich Rundles. In the normal five-man rotation, Jason Berken would have been the normal starting pitcher, so starting Rundles would indicate that Berken was injured or that he was being held for a promotion. But Berken started Sunday. And Carlos Rojas, a proven non-hitter, might be more valuable as a pitcher. So what is going on with the Tides’ pitching staff? I asked the Tides’ media relations department for an explanation.
As far as Rundles’ starting is concerned, it was a reaction to Dontrelle Willis. You may remember that the Orioles signed Willis was signed in the offseason, intending to make him a left-handed spot relief pitcher. After a couple of ineffective appearances, Willis went AWOL and refused to return unless the Orioles allowed him to serve as a starting pitcher. The Orioles eventually acquiesced and sent him to extended spring training to get him in condition to serve as a starting pitcher. Willis was scheduled to make the Saturday start, and Jason Berken was preparing to make the Sunday start. On Saturday, however, Willis was incapacitated by the flu. Rather than mess with Berken’s preparations, the Tides decided to use Rich Rundles as a spot starter.
As far as the bullpen is concerned, two Tides — Brad Bergesen and Steve Johnson — are converting starters. Bergesen had pitched 2 2/3 innings two days before; Johnson 3 innings three days before. Neither was available to pitch. The Tides also decided that Zach Phillips and Pat Neshek were unavailable because they had pitched in the two previous games; that seems a little specious to me because Phillips had thrown exactly two pitches in his outing the previous evening. However, the Orioles and Tides agreed that they would not use Neshek and Phillips. That left two pitchers in the bullpen. Oscar Villarreal pitched one inning — requiring 44 pitches to get through the inning, giving up five runs. Miguel Socolovich relieved Villarreal; the Tides came back with a five-run eighth to take 7-6 lead but the tiring Socolovich — who threw 48 pitches in his three innings — gave up the tying run. After the Tides took the lead in the top of the tenth, another pitcher was required — and Carlos Rojas, who was probably the best available choice, came in. And preserved the win, earning a save.
Over the past few days, the Orioles have made many player assignments. Late Thursday, March 15, the Orioles optioned Joe Mahoney, the first baseman, to Norfolk. Again, players on the team’s 40-man roster are optioned while players not on the 40-man roster are reassigned to minor-league camp. And, again, while Mahoney’s option to Norfolk doesn’t guarantee that he’ll start the season at Norfolk, it seems more likely than not that he’ll do so. Mahoney’s played well at AA and there’s no other first basemen who also should be at Norfolk.
The list of players reassigned to minor-league camp include a number of players who will likely start the season at Frederick or Delmarva, but who were invited to major-league camp either for the experience or to provide some more arms and legs during the early days of spring training. Three 2011 Tides, however were assigned to minor-league camp. Blake Davis will almost certainly start the season with Norfolk. The Tides don’t have an abundance of middle infielders and Davis has played fairly well at AAA over the last couple of seasons. The destinations of infielder Carlos Rojas and relief pitcher Cole McCurry are uncertain. Rojas is nothing more than roster-filler. He’ll be assigned to Frederick, Bowie, or Norfolk, depending on where there’s a hole. McCurry has done enough to justify an assignment to Norfolk, but it will depend on what other pitchers get assigned to Norfolk.
Who is he?
A good-field, no-hit shortstop. He seems to be overmatched by, well, professional pitching. His highest single-season OPS in the minor leagues is .652, with a career OPS of .555. He came up in the Cubs’ organization, and if he were still in the Cubs’ organization he’d have been converted to a pitcher.
In the late 1960′s, there were a number of major-league shortstops whose offensive contributions were a .220 batting average and one home run a month. Defensively, they weren’t athletic but had a strong throwing arm and were reliable. Think Luis Aparicio without the range and the speed. Dal Maxvill may have been the most memorable of the group; Ed Brinkman the best; others included Bobby Wine, Hal Lanier, and Ray Oyler. When artificial turf came into the game, these guys lost their jobs because they weren’t quick enough for turf. Carlos Rojas is in that class; he is a reliable shortstop with a strong throwing arm and an absolute zero as an offensive player. He’s a AA player.
I’ve been out of town for the past week, and therefore missed the four-game series at Harbor Park between Charlotte and the Tides. I returned to work last night’s Durham game, which the Tides won 3-2. Once again, I got to see Brendan Harris play shortstop.
Since I last commented on Brendan Harris, the Tides have made the usual personnel changes. The change most relevant to Harris are the promotion of Josh Bell to Baltimore and the corresponding promotion of Carlos Rojas to Norfolk. How does all this affect Brendan Harris? Bell was the Tides’ third baseman, and couldn’t play anywhere else. Rojas is a good defensive infielder, but can’t hit at all, and thus isn’t a candidate to be a major-league utilityman. Since both Harris and Rojas are now in the Organization Player stage of their career. manager Gary Allenson can use them to try to win games instead of developing their skills for the major leagues. So, Rojas is now the most-regular shortstop, meaning Harris can play third base.
Last night, manager Allenson gave Rojas the night off, and so Harris filled in at shortstop. For whatever reason, Harris made several good plays. The most memorable came in the seventh inning. With runners on first and second and no outs, Durham’s Leslie Anderson hit a ground ball to the left of second. The ball took a sudden sharp hop but Harris was able to stay with it, race to second for a force out, and then throw to first in time to get Anderson for the double play.
Harris did commit an error, when he got to a ground ball hit up the middle and made an ill-advised throw into the first-base dugout (it went as a single and error.) But I may have been a little bit too harsh on Harris earlier; he’ll never be a great shortstop but he may be adequate.