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Josh Rojas finds his place with Seattle Mariners

Josh Rojas off to a good start

HOUSTON – When former Astros minor leaguer Josh Rojas was traded to the Diamondbacks for All-Star pitcher Zack Greinke in 2019, he had mixed emotions. He loved the idea of playing close to his childhood home in the Phoenix suburb of Litchfield Park.

The Seattle Mariners’ third baseball envisioned his family attending his games regularly in Phoenix. However, Rojas worried most about adjusting to a new organization. Those worries didn’t last long though because his former Diamondback teammates were quick to make him comfortable in the big leagues. 

Building relationships with his teammates was crucial for Rojas’ mental and physical development. The University of Hawaii alum was traded midseason to the struggling Diamondbacks. Fitting in with his new franchise was difficult at first because he was a rookie trying to prove himself in a clubhouse full of strangers. 

Josh Rojas finds early mentor

Rojas took advantage of the following offseason and spring training to make connections with his ballclub. He built a friendship with 13-year veteran Eduardo Escobar

“It was more of a comfort level,” Josh Rojas said. “I had a few guys that helped along the way. Eduardo Escobar was one of the first guys that reached out to me. He kind of helped me learn how the big leagues works (like) what time to get to the field and how to carry yourself.”

Rojas, 29, was traded from Arizona to Seattle at last year’s trade deadline for relief pitcher Paul Sewald. The 6-foot-1 slugger played a utility role because Eugenio Suarez was already established at third base for the Mariners. 


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Rojas’ former pals in Arizona embraced his presence and allowed him to be himself. That played a huge factor in Rojas’ transition from a low-level prospect to the everyday third baseman in Seattle. 

“That clubhouse was the biggest influence on me getting comfortable and allowing myself to have a good career,” Rojas said of his Arizona teammates. 

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After a disappointing season in which the Mariners missed the last wild-card spot and winning the division by two games, they parted ways with Suarez, who now plays with Arizona. 

Both Luis Urias and Rojas were given the opportunity to compete for the starting spot at third base. Rojas solidified himself for the role with a great spring training. A threat loomed because Matt Chapman was still unsigned in the spring. 

Rojas was a little anxious because the Mariners were somewhat in contention to sign the two-time Platinum Glove winner, but eventually Seattle decided to trust Rojas to man third. 

“It’s awesome,” Rojas said. “I was a little worried in spring training with Chapman still in the market. To see these guys stand behind me and Urias as the third basemen has been pretty cool. It’s our job to go out there and prove the organization right.”

Seattle’s reluctance to sign Chapman has not been detrimental. Rojas’ has been stellar at the hot corner. He is batting an impressive .345, including a pair of three-hit games in Friday and Sunday’s game against his former organization. 

Strong start

Additionally, he’s contributed 24 hits, six RBIs, 11 runs, and three home runs. Rojas has a 1.0 WAR so far this season. Mariners manager Scott Servais praises Rojas for his pitch selection, overall play and ability to move up the batting order.

“He was at the bottom of the line-up,” Servais said of Rojas. “J.P. Crawford got hurt, so there was an opportunity to slide to the top. And he hasn’t missed a beat. He’s done a nice job in setting the table and getting on base. He’s hit a few homers, which isn’t really part of his game.”

Servais raves about Rojas’ competitiveness at the plate. 

“He’s been really competitive, which is the biggest thing,” Servais said. “No matter who is on the mound, he has taken some hits to left field and the pull side. The thing we really don’t talk much about is how well he’s played defense.” 

It was just about finding the right place, the right people and the right situation for Rojas. The comfort level he experienced in Seattle and Arizona has allowed Rojas to play at an elite level.

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