The minor league season ended about a month ago but there were so many players coming through the organization that it is tough to remember everyone. One minor leaguer that SF Giants fans may not recall has found a new home for 2023. José Rojas has agreed to a deal with the Doosan Bears of the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO), according to Yoo Jee-ho of Yonhap News.
Ex-SF Giants minor league infielder finds a new home for 2023
Jee-ho reports that Rojas' deal is for $1 million and that he will be taking the place of former major league infielder José Miguel Fernández. Interestingly, both Rojas and Fernández have played exclusively for the Los Angeles Angels in their respective major league careers.
The Angels originally drafted Rojas in the 36th round of the 2016 draft out of Vanguard University of Southern California in Costa Mesa, California. In six minor league seasons, the left-handed bat recorded a respectable .286/.347/.503 line with an 8.4 percent walk rate against a 19.3 percent strikeout rate.
He debuted for the Angels in 2021 where he slashed .208/.277/.399 (81 OPS+) with six home runs, 15 RBI, and 26 runs in 184 plate appearances. This proved to be his longest look in an Angels uniform as he posted a .301 OPS in just 57 plate appearances in the following season before being designated for assignment.
Of course, the Giants put in a claim on the middle infielder because they are kind of known for that by now. To create room on the 40-man roster, Brandon Belt was transferred to the 60-day injured list after undergoing season-ending surgery. This potentially marked the end of Belt's career in a Giants uniform.
Rojas tallied an .866 OPS with two home runs in 29 plate appearances with the Sacramento River Cats before being designated for assignment. He cleared waivers but rejected an assignment to Triple-A, thereby becoming a free agent.
Rojas brings a versatile glove and occasional power to the Doosan Bears. The 29-year-old has major league experience at first base, second base, third base, and left field. He joins a Bears team that finished with a 60-82 record, which was the second-worst mark in the KBO last year.
His time in the Giants organization was brief but it is impressive that a former 36th-round pick has made it as far as he has. He will be tasked with helping to turn around a Bears team that had an uncharacteristically poor season in 2022.