Miguel Rojas – Donovan Solano Battle for Marlins utility infield role

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The Marlins have another tough decision to make and that is in choosing the lead utility infielder for the 2015 season. The frontrunners are recently acquired Miguel Rojas and Donovan Solano. The team really does like Derek Dietrich but he could really only play second base. The battle between Rojas and Solano will get a long look during the spring.

Miguel Rojas was acquired in the Dee Gordon trade with the Dodgers and is already being considered as one of the possible utility men for next season.  In 85 games with Los Angeles last year Rojas hit a low .181 with an OBP of .242 which is close to dreadful. He did show signs of being a clutch offensive player but being consistent is the key, and that he did not provide last season. He does replace the loss of Enrique Hernandez, who was also included in the same trade. Hernandez did have bigger upside and could have run with the utility position if still on the team. Nevertheless, it is too early to tell whether Rojas will improve or not. Expect him to play many games in the spring as the team will fully evaluate him. Rojas is a shortstop by trade, but also played a good margin of his games at third as well as second. He played an average defense at all three positions but he didn’t get much playing time so the numbers are hard to go by.

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Donovan Solano is a player the team is familiar with. Solano has spent his three years in the big leagues all with the Marlins and has been really solid in his time in South Florida. Solano hit .252 last season and had an OBP of an even .300. He only had three homeruns last season but one was a go-ahead homerun against David Price, and the other was a two-run homer of Adam Wainwright. Solano also averages from 28-32 RBI’s per season, but those numbers are based on limited playing time over the past three seasons. Solano also can play the whole infield. His main position is at second, but played short and second as well. Solano did get some time in left field in 2012 and didn’t do a bad job, but his lack of arm-strength is better suited in the diamond. Solano has always been an upright spring training performer, which will make it harder for Rojas to beat him out.

Sep 23, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria (left) celebrates with second baseman Donovan Solano (right) after defeating the Philadelphia Phillies 2-0 at Marlins Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The starters are set with Prado and Hechavarria in the left side, and Gordon and Morse in the right side of the infield. The Marlins correspondingly have Jeff Baker off the bench. Baker can play some first base as well as second. He is a lock on the team as he is on his second year of his two-year contract. Manager Mike Redmond has previously said that the battle for the utility position is always a touch choice. Spring training will be very interesting for this Marlins team, as expectations are rising rather quickly.

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