Broadcaster Rojas pleased with Marlins' moves

Broadcaster Rojas pleased with Marlins' moves

Broadcaster Rojas pleased with Marlins' moves
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- From the broadcast booth, Cookie Rojas enjoys a bird's-eye view of the Marlins.

Entering his ninth season as a color commentator for the club's Fox Sports Florida/Sun Sports Spanish-language broadcast team, Rojas closely monitors the organization. He frequently interacts with the players and manager Edwin Rodriguez.

A five-time All-Star as a player as well as a big league manager and coach, Rojas speaks from authority when assessing the club.

What Rojas has seen from the Marlins this offseason, he likes.

The primary offseason goal was to improve the defense and bullpen. Steps were taken in that direction with a series of trades and free-agent acquisitions.

"I think the club has improved a little bit with the trades that they've made and the acquisitions that they've made," Rojas said on Saturday during the Joe DiMaggio Legends Game at Fort Lauderdale Stadium. "There are still a few question marks. When everything settles down in Spring Training, we'll see what happens."

Like many Marlins fans and followers, Rojas is waiting to see how Chris Coghlan handles the transition to center field. The 2009 National League Rookie of the Year is switching from left field to center, and he also is recovering from surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee.

Another position that remains unclear is third base. Matt Dominguez, the 21-year-old prospect who hasn't played above Double-A, is getting a chance to win the starting job. One of the fallback options is to go with Omar Infante at third and Emilio Bonifacio or Coghlan at second base if Dominguez isn't ready by Opening Day.

Another scenario could be for Coghlan to switch to third and Infante to stay at second.

"Infante, we don't know if he's going to be at second base or at third base," Rojas said. "Matt Dominguez is going to get an opportunity to make the club at third base. If not, they're going to have to make some moves. Do they bring Coghlan back to the infield? We don't know."

Rojas was among several dozens of former big leaguers to participate in the 23rd annual charity game aimed at raising money for the children and families at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital.

Some of the notable ex-players on hand were Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson, Paul Blair, Ron Bloomberg, Bert Campaneris, Rico Carty, Ed Kranepool, Ron Swobada, Minnie Minoso, Roy White and Charles Johnson, an original Marlin.

"This is a great event," Rojas said. "I've been here for many, many years. I think it's a great cause, to help kids and their families.

"You see all the guys who come here to help. It's good to relive the memories. It's great to be here and participate."

Rojas feels Florida helped itself with the signings of free agents Javier Vazquez and John Buck. Vazquez projects to be the third starter in the rotation, while Buck will handle the starting catcher role.

The team also added Infante and reliever Mike Dunn from the Braves for Dan Uggla.

"The signing of Javier Vazquez is a good acquisition," Rojas said. "I know him well. He's an experienced pitcher. He knows how to pitch. He can give you a lot of innings.

"John Buck, who we got from the Toronto Blue Jays, was a good pickup. I believe the club has improved a lot, but we're going to have to see how it works in Spring Training and see what happens."

Perhaps the biggest key to the Marlins will be their three-time All-Star shortstop, Hanley Ramirez.

Rojas will closely watch Ramirez to see how he bounces back from a subpar 2010. The 27-year-old comes off an injury-plagued and inconsistent campaign. While he batted .300, he was far from his numbers in 2009, when he won the NL batting title with a .342 average.

"I think that he had a year where situations came up and we didn't see the Hanley Ramirez that we saw the years before," Rodriguez said.

Ramirez had his well-publicized fallout last May with former manager Fredi Gonzalez.

"With Edwin Rodriguez being manager, I think that is good, because Ramirez gets along with him really well," Rojas said. "Rodriguez mentioned to me that Hanley could be the MVP this year if he puts all his skills together. He can do that. I think he definitely has that opportunity."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.