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Is Eddie Rosario Facing a Make-or-Break Year With the Twins?

Last week, the Twins agreed to terms with Eddie Rosario on a one year $7.75 million contract in his second year of being arbitration eligible. He was one of five Twins players to accumulate more than 30 home runs last season, but it might be getting to the point where his on-field value doesn’t match the money the Twins are paying him.
Image courtesy of © Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
According to FanGraphs, Eddie Rosario has provided the Twins $83.7 million worth of value over the course of his five big league seasons. His best season was 2018 when he accumulated a 3.5 WAR and FanGraphs valued him at $27.6 million. He was worth $20.6 million in 2017 and $19.6 million in 2015, his rookie season. These are some great seasons, especially since the Twins have only paid him $5.89 million throughout his career.

Last season was Rosario’s least valuable season besides the 2016 campaign where he was limited to 92 games. He set career highs in home runs and RBI while having less than 90 strikeouts for the first time. Even with those positives, his defensive decline is drastically impacting his value to the Twins.

SABR’s Defensive Index ranked Rosario as the third worst AL left fielder last season with a -5.7 SDI. Only Seattle’s Domingo Santana and Boston’s Andrew Benintendi ranked lower than Rosario. Baseball Savant’s Outs Above Average, a newly released statistic, ranks Rosario even worse. Among the 92 qualified outfielders his -17 OAA is the lowest total by four outs.

Even with his positive offensive numbers, FanGraphs puts Rosario’s value at $9.3 million last season. He will cost the Twins nearly $8 million in 2020 and his salary would increase for 2021, his age-29 season. It could be getting to the point where Rosario’s on-field value doesn’t match the salary he is being paid. Minnesota’s front office is smart enough to look at his overall value and it could be in the best interest of the team to cut ties with Rosario.

Back in 2016, the Twins went through a similar situation with Trevor Plouffe. He was projected to earn $8.2 million in his final year of arbitration. Instead Minnesota cut ties with him, because the roster had other first base/DH options and Miguel Sano was ready to take over at third base. Plouffe had been limited to 84 games in 2016 and he would only play 107 more games at the big-league level.

To take the place of Rosario, the Twins could have other prospects waiting to take over a corner outfield spot. Players like Alex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach could both be ready for a full-time role on the 2021 Twins. Each would be making the minimum salary and they could be able to provide more value without being as much of a defensive liability.

Rosario has provided some dramatic moments throughout his Twins tenure, but his days in a Twins uniform could be numbered. Do you think the Twins keep Rosario beyond the 2020 season?

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41 Comments

I could be wrong, but I thought Larnach was pretty much a 1B/DH type that gets a pretty generous oh he can play some corner outfield, and it doesn't seem like there are very promising projections for Kiriloff's defense either. 

 

If that's about right, and the concern for Rosario is his recent poor defense ratings, which were obviously affected by his injured ankle, how could either of these guys be an adequate replacement for him? They would have to out perform him at the plate (which is very unlikely) because there defense, especially as rookies, is going to be worse. 

The Plouffe comp is so insulting. 

    • SQUIRREL and mikelink45 like this

The Plouffe comp is so insulting.


In what way?
Heading into his last season as a Twin, Plouffe was a slightly above league average hitter, just as Rosario was last year.
Plouffe had nearly double the bWAR, as a competent defensive 3B, as opposed to corner outfielder.
    • Mike Sixel and wabene like this
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jorgenswest
Jan 21 2020 11:28 AM
Plouffe seems like a good comp. He was a valuable player for 4 years posting DRC+ numbers of 107, 102, 111, 107. He was below average with the glove at the start of those 4 years but became an average or better 3B.

Rosario has similar DRC+ numbers. He is a valuable player and I expect he will be this season again. Like Plouffe he has little space to decline given his arb status.
    • wabene likes this

Eddie before and after his injury last season:

 

Before: .282/.312/.529/.841 OPS 

After: .268/.465/.465/.750 OPS  

 

I really don't think he ever fully recovered and it impacted his defense as well.The top player you have no problem paying $8M to play a corner spot, the bottom one you do.  

 

I really hope he comes into camp fully recovered, we will see what his numbers do, especially hitting in an even better lineup.IMO, Eddie wasn't traded not because he didn't have value, but simply a contending team doesn't trade a piece like him unless they have someone knocking at the door and confidence they could replicate his production, which IMO, the Twins do not.

 

    • Dman, DocBauer and wabene like this
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Richard Swerdlick
Jan 21 2020 12:02 PM

We could use another good starting pitcher. It seems to me that we either trade Eddie, trade some prospects, or some combination of both to get the ptiching we need. I expect this to happen yet this winter.

Eddie is a predator and he makes the lineup better. You can squint and see Larnach or Kiriloff having good numbers in replacement, but Eddie is a huge part of the team and I don't think he goes away as easy as people think. 

    • mikelink45 and rdehring like this
Keep in mind, I'm a huge fan of Eddie, love to watch him play, and absolutely forgive the occasional misplay in the OF or bad judgment one while running the bases because he makes another 3 or 4 outstanding plays to make up for it.

I can even forgive his free swinging ways...to some degree...as long as he is producing overall and preferably slightly lower in the order.

BTW...not only do I believe just ankle affected his hitting last season, but I also wonder if he was sort of "green lit" at the cleanup spot?

I do think, however, that Eddy's days may be numbered due to simple economics. Even a totally healthy Eddie in 2020 and 2021, we have a couple younger, less expensive, highly regarded prospects who have bright future that could replace him in the next year or two.

I love Eddie. I just think he's probably gone in 2yrs...not that I'm asking for that to happen.
    • SwainZag, mikelink45 and adorduan like this

I don't think the Twins keep Eddie beyond 2020 because of Larnach and Kirilloff. Only one needs to be ready by 2021. That said, the Twins need a healthy Rosario this year.

Word is that Rosario had a bad ankle in 2019. Probably so, since his statcast speed data shows a full ft/sec drop - not normal for a 27-yr old. As a result, he dropped about 0.8 WAR just on baserunning between 2018 and 2019.

With health, I expect his defense to be a bit better in 2020 too. His glovework has never been great, so I don't expect his upside to be more than an average OF. (Note: baseball savant OAA doesn't include "arm". He has saved between 5-7 runs per year with his arm, according to DRS).

Even with improvement, I don't think the Twins will want his salary on the books in 2021. And with a better 2020, he'll become a viable trade chip for a SP in the offseason.

Sausage pizza? That's about enough of the Eddie bashing thank you!
    • dbminn likes this

Sausage pizza? That's about enough of the Eddie bashing thank you!


Where in that post did you read any bashing?
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Brock Beauchamp
Jan 21 2020 09:40 PM

 

Be careful. You are not allowed to be an Eddie fan on this site. Are never allowed to say anything good about him!! Such a joke

The reality is that Rosario wasn't very good last year. He was quite good the year before that.

 

Don't promote lazy takes, no one wears them well.

 

No one here wants Rosario to fail, as we are all Twins fans... but the reality of the situation is that he stumbled a bit last season, particularly on defense, and he's facing a big pay raise in the coming offseason. Cody is making a valid point: what will it take for the Rosario to earn that last year of arbitration when he's due something around $10m or more?

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Brock Beauchamp
Jan 21 2020 09:49 PM

 

The Plouffe comp is so insulting. 

No, it's not.

 

Trevor Plouffe, like Eddie Rosario in 2019, was a completely competent MLB starter.

 

But the way the arbitration system works squeezes "competent starters" out of the mix in year 2/3 because it makes little sense to keep a 29 year old starter at $11m when you can go get a 31 year old starter for $6m.

 

Trevor Plouffe has a career 8.2 fWAR. That's fine, that's what you would expect out of a decent MLB starter for several years but when arb clocks them in for 1.2 WAR at $11m, you cut bait. It's not an insult, it's just the financials of baseball because you can hit free agency and get a similar player for half the price.

Where in that post did you read any bashing?


The part where he said they should trade him for some chips and a sausage pizza?
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Brock Beauchamp
Jan 21 2020 10:14 PM

 

The part where he said they should trade him for some chips and a sausage pizza?

wut

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Major League Ready
Jan 22 2020 03:26 PM

 

The reality is that Rosario wasn't very good last year. He was quite good the year before that.

 

Don't promote lazy takes, no one wears them well.

 

No one here wants Rosario to fail, as we are all Twins fans... but the reality of the situation is that he stumbled a bit last season, particularly on defense, and he's facing a big pay raise in the coming offseason. Cody is making a valid point: what will it take for the Rosario to earn that last year of arbitration when he's due something around $10m or more?

 

He was sensational the 1st half of 2018 and horrible the 2nd half. 1st half vs 2nd half stats are as follows.

OPS 930 / 642
wRC+ 149 / 70
Ave 315 / 254
Swinging outside the zone 39/47.5
War 3.3 / .1

 

I would guess that he will be here in 2021 if he performs similarly to 2019 in 2020. I would think one of the prospects will push him to a bench role during 2021 or to be traded if he does not improve upon 2019 in 2020. Obviously, if he makes it on to the 2021 team there is always the possibility the super Eddie we saw in the first half of 2018 could reappear. I don't see them getting rid of him until one of the prospects forces the issue.

I doubt Eddy will be a Twin at the start of the next off season.There is too much traffic jam in the outfield with Kirillof/ Larnach/ Raley/ Cave/ Wade to pay him. 

 

 

The semi worrisome part of it is Cruz is most likely gone as well, and that is 2 of the clubhouse leaders.


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