The Detroit Tigers have hired a new Director of Latin Player Development in Euclides Rojas.
Per Francys Romero, who does a great job in covering all things Cuban baseball, he announced that the Detroit Tigers have hired former pitching and bullpen coach Euclides Rojas to be the new Director of Latin Player Development. The team has not made a formal announcement.
Back in September, the Tigers announced they were not going to bring back Rafael Martinez, who had held the position since 2018 when he was promoted after having various roles in the organization including managing back to back playoff appearances for the DSL Tigers in 2013-2014, winning a championship in 2013.
Martinez managed several players who have come up through the system like Spencer Turnbull, Jacob Robson, Matt Manning, and Jason Foley. Anthony Fenech did a story about his work with the Tigers academy in the Dominican Republic that explains what goes into the school.
Who is Euclides Rojas?
Born in Havana, Cuba, Rojas pitched in the top league in Cuban, the Cuban National Series for the Industriales de La Habana, playing there from 1985 until 1994. He was a part of the first wave of Cuban players in the 90’s who deflected such as Orlando “El Duque” Hernández, René Arocha, who spent time with the St. Louis Cardinals, Rey Ordóñez, the former Mets shortstop and the first All-Star in Tampa Rays history, Rolando Arrojo.
Rojas’s story of getting to the United States can be found below as Melanie Newman discussed his journey with him when he was the pitching coach with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He, along with other Cuban refugees, floated on a 15-foot raft to the United States with his wife and son in tow.
His story about his time pitching in Cuba can be found here but it fits the motif of what the Tigers have been doing recently and that is someone who thinks about the mental side of the game. He didn’t have the best fastball but he threw a curve and has discussed how he changed his arm angle to be effective. Upon arrival in the United States, he pitched in the Marlins pitching system until he retired in 1996 then later was the Florida Marlins minor league pitching coach.
When David Littlefield took over as the GM of the Pirates in 2001, he brought him and Al Avila over from the Marlins. From there, he also spent a season with the Boston Red Sox as their bullpen coach for their World Series season in 2004 before returning back to Pittsburgh. After that, he returned to Pittsburgh to serve as the Latin American Education Field Coordinator for five years until 2011, where he became the Pirates bullpen coach.
He is the all-time leader in saves for the Cuban National team. We will keep you updated when the team makes the announcement official.