Starting today, I will take a look at historical transactions on this day and use it to take a look at a key move or player in Expos/Nationals history.
Most of these could be random because of a dearth of moves or one name that sticks out in my mind more than any others.
I’m not sure if this will be a weekly or daily feature yet, but for now we’ll take it day by day.
We start with 1985 when the Montreal Expos signed Mel Rojas as an amateur free agent.
Rojas had a pretty good background. His uncle was in the organization and later became the manager – Felipe Alou. Meaning he had a connection to that baseball family. He ended up playing with his cousin Moises as well. He made his Major League debut
Rojas was the Mariano Rivera to John Wetteland before Wetteland was traded to the New York Yankees. He set up Wetteland in 1994 and after Wetteland was traded he became the closer for the 1995 and 1996 seasons performing well, saving 30 and 36 games in both seasons. He then became a free agent and signed with the Chicago Cubs. He also spent time with the Mets, Tigers and Dodgers and made a brief return to Montreal in 1999, but was never as good as he was when he was in his first stint in Montreal.
His best season came in 1992, and it may be one of the best seasons for a reliever in Expos history. He was 7-1 with a 1.43 ERA. He pitched in 100.2 innings all in relief (68 games) and saved 10 games. He had a 34/70 BB/K ratio and allowed only two homeruns.
Rojas made his Major League Debut in 1990, five years after the signing, and his last appearance in 1999. He never wore a number other than 51 except for a brief stint in 1993. His time was definitely up in 1999 when he had a 18.00 ERA in 13 games with Detroit, Los Angeles and Montreal. He was one of many Expos in that time period who threw a forkball.
Career: 34-31, 3.82 ERA, 126 saves, 667 IP, 254/562 BB/K
With Montreal: 29-23, 3.11 ERA, 109 saves, 512.1 IP, 181/419 BB/K