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What Is Eddie Rosario Worth?

Now that the deadline for teams to add players to their 40-man rosters in order to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft has passed, the next significant date on the MLB offseason calendar is Dec. 2’s non-tender deadline. Are we sure it’s a slam dunk that Eddie Rosario won’t be on the 2021 Twins?
Image courtesy of Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
If it truly is a foregone conclusion that Rosario won’t be apart of the Twins next season, what is the team waiting for? We saw some other arbitration-eligible players get designated for assignment Friday, including Hunter Renfroe of Tampa Bay and Renato Nunez of Baltimore. It’s fair to note, however, both those teams filled up their rosters and needed to clear some space, unlike the Twins who still have three open spots.

Nobody’s quite sure how things are going to play out in the arbitration process since this 60-game season complicates things. MLB Trade Rumors has three different projection models. The lowest has Rosie projected at $8.6 million, the middle at $9.6 and the highest at $12.9 million. That’s essentially a range from “in the realm of possibility” to “completely insane.” Even the average of those three figures, $10.4 million, seems awfully high.

An x-factor in this discussion is what Rosario’s agency would project him to get on the open market, and how that may factor into this process.

Over the past two seasons, Rosario and Robbie Grossman have the exact same fWAR (2.1) and xwOBA (.327). Craig Edwards of FanGraphs predicted Grossman would get a one-year, $6 million contract this offseason. Many of the other metrics, and even the early 2021 projections, paint a much rosier picture (pun very much intended), but that comp could be enough reason for the Rosario camp to welcome contract discussions toward the low-end of his projected arbitration salary.

The tricky thing is the Twins won’t necessarily know what number Rosario’s agency plans on filing for at the time they’re required to make a decision to tender him a contract or not. If tendered a contract, he’s getting paid one way or another. Both sides would have until mid-January to negotiate a salary, but if they can’t they would go to a hearing. The team files at one number, the player another, and there is no middle ground. One side wins, one side loses.

It’s important to note that a player’s arbitration salary really has nothing to do with estimating his value on the open market. Instead, everything is based on precedent. The people on these arbitration panels aren’t baseball analysts or anything like that, these are judges and other non-baseball people. Counting stats weigh heavily in determining a player’s value, which is good news for Rosario.

Rosario has 5.120 years of service time. A comp I found for him at a similar time was Corey Dickerson, who avoided a hearing by agreeing to an $8.5 million salary in his final year of arbitration eligibility prior to the 2019 season. Dickerson had much better rate stats (.824 OPS vs. .788), but Rosario has him beat in counting stats. Rosario has the advantage over Dickerson by 16 homers, 77 RBIs, 58 runs, 41 hits and 51 total bases over their respective six-year stretches. Still, I’d say that’s pretty darn close considering the window we’re looking at.

If we want to find a comp in an instance that went to a hearing, take a look at Joc Pederson. Entering this season, he filed for $9.5 million, but the Dodgers beat him in the hearing with their mark of $7.75 million.

Pre-2020 Pederson holds the advantage in OPS over present-day Rosario .813 to .788, and Joc even had four more homers then than Eddie does now. Everything else trends strongly toward Rosie, however, as he has Pederson beat in RBIs by 101, runs by 76, hits by 265 and total bases by 309. That’s the cost of being platooned.

Either way, I still find it very difficult to imagine Rosario’s team building a case for him anywhere near that high-end projection of $12.9 million.

Circling back to Grossman, he agreed to a meager $3.275 million salary in his final season of arbitration eligibility last year. Gotta hit tanks to make bank, kids.

I still doubt the Twins will tender Rosario a contract if it comes down to Dec. 2. I do think, however, there is a potential avenue for these two sides to reach an agreement between now and then.

What is the magic number? There has to be a point at which the Twins have interest in retaining Rosario on a one-year contract. It's most definitely not $12.9 million, or even $10.4 million. It probably isn't even $9.6 million.

Is it crazy to think Rosario would be open to coming back at $8 million?

I don’t see much incentive for Rosario to want to hit the open market. Bringing him back would give the Twins additional certainty and some leverage as it relates to Nelson Cruz. They could just move on from Cruz altogether. Yes, there are still internal corner outfield options waiting for opportunities, but they’re mostly unproven. The Twins could always use one of them as a trade chip to acquire an established arm, building even more certainty into the 2021 roster.

The smart bet is most definitely on this ending in Eddie Rosario being non-tendered. Still, there are a lot of options on the table to explore between now and the Dec. 2 deadline. This isn’t simply a decision between offering Rosario $10.4 million or cutting him loose.

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26 Comments

Thanks for the deep dive and comps, Tom. I think Twins Territory is very interested to know what this FO will do - this is the first time they’ve made this type of a decision with this high profile of a player.
    • by jiminy and mikelink45 like this
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tony&rodney
Nov 22 2020 08:34 AM

There are so many scenarios where Eddie is still a Twin next summer. In addition to using the young corner outfielders as potential links to pitching, the current signed players, Sano and Kepler, may bring back a pitcher. In 2019, five Twins hit 30 home-runs and it is plausible that only one is retained for 2021. Certainly, the finances and team needs will dictate that a minimum of one of the Bomba Squad is moved. Rosario for less than $10 million is an option that must be considered. At the very least, December 2 is day one for the dominoes.

    • LA VIkes Fan, DocBauer and wabene like this
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Doctor Gast
Nov 22 2020 08:35 AM

Well laid out article Tom. I`m sure there is very serious negotiations going on. I like the format for arbitration where each offer their most reasonable offer & the officials decide the most reasonable instead finding a medium where each side become ridiculous. That said, if both sides come to decide to go to arbitration which I doubt, I`m afraid the decision would go to the owners (last year they surprisingly decided against Berrios) this year they will heavily decide in favor of the owners. Rosie`s agent must know that so he must decide if he`d accept the owner`s offer & stay or try to find a little bit better deal elsewhere. I`d bet on the latter because if nothing materialize they still fall back on the owners original offer

If Cruz is gone, if a decent salary is negotiated I put Rosario at DH. That allows one of our young group a place to play in LF.

    • DocBauer, Vanimal46, Tom Froemming and 1 other like this

I think if the Twins believe they are not going to be able to sign Cruz, they are more likely to cut a pre-arbitration deal with Rosario. I doubt the Twins will let it go to the uncertainty of arbitration.

    • mikelink45 likes this

What are the odds that arbitration gives Eddie Rosario a 3% raise? This is the fundamental issue with arbitration and why the Joc comp still doesn't matter: Peterson lost his arbitration case but still got a raise of better than 50%. When was the last time someone went to arbitration and didn't get a substantial % raise?

 

The only way Rosario signs for $8M is if his management becomes convinced there's no market for him as a free agent if the Twins non-tender him. But what are the odds that a) they're thinking that, or B) eddie is willing to accept that? Players have egos too and are certainly going to be convinced of their own talent. Pride gets in the way and messes with people (the classic example is Latrell Sprewell, who rejected a reasonable contract for an aging veteran...and then never played again).

 

Eddie's probably looking at his season and thinking he deserves a raise, and a multi-year contract. The Twins are looking at a guy who is getting expensive and may have topped out for his ability.

 

I imagine the Twins are waiting as long as possible before a tender decision to see what they can see from the market...but I still see him getting non-tendered and then him signing elsewhere, because once the Twins make the call that they're not going to give him a 20-50% raise, pride will get in the way and regardless of what the market looks like he won't come back here even if it means signing for less in another market.

    • TopGunn#22, LA VIkes Fan, mikelink45 and 2 others like this

Lots of uncertainty heading into next year, some of it baseball related. Will personally be shocked if the Twins don't either sign Rosario (one year contract or extension) or go to arbitration. They aren't going to release him, at least in my opinion.

 

I also believe they can find a spot for one of AK and Rooker with Rosario on the roster. And maybe even both.

 

 

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yeahyabetcha
Nov 22 2020 11:17 AM
Whether it is 8 million or 11 million, it is time to move on from Eddie. Despite all the analytical data, the current core does not appear capable to advance in the playoffs.

Eddie fails too many eye tests. Too many terrible at bats, base running gaffes and poor fielding decisions to off set his offensive production.

Let Eddie and Nelson walk, use the payroll for a starter or late inning bullpen options. The offense may suffer this year because of it, but the roster needs a little turnover.
    • TopGunn#22 and Dman like this
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LA VIkes Fan
Nov 22 2020 12:45 PM

Some say that it's hard to see the Twins keeping Rosario, Cruz, Sano, and Kepler both because of cost and because they have Kiriloff, Rooker and Larnach in the wings. I think we should all recoginize that prospects often turn out to be Fools Gold and don't justify trading or releasing a player who has established major league credentials. That very well may be the case here. More importantly, we don't need to be in a rush to find that out unless the Twins simply don;t want to pay the frieght. If they will for one year, we can keep everyone and have the best team possible while keeping all of our oprions open. 

 

I wonder why the rush to a decision on Rosario. We have him for the year at $9-10m. He loses trade value over time unless he's signed but those who predict or advocate for releasing him must assume he has no trade value now so the timing issue isn't relevant. Let's remember that this is a this year issue only. There will be room for prospects next year when Cruz isn't around any more. Releasing Rosario makes the least sense; trading him and arbitration if he isn't valuable enough to trade make more sense long term. 

 

I would play this out. Try to sign Rosario to a team friendly 3-4 year deal. If that doesn't work, and it mostly likely won't, go to arbitration and live with the results. There is room for at least one of the prospects on the roster as the backup first baseman/fifth outfielder, two if we want to dump Cave. Frankly, if these prospects aren't better than Wade and Cave, there is absolutely no reason to try to make roster space for any of them. We can always keep negotiating with Rosario for a team friendly deal, trade him at the deadline or, worst case scenario, have him for a year and then let him test every agency. There will be at bats for the prospects evenif they aren't everyday players given Rocco's desire to rest players, Cruz' age, and Buxton and Sanos injury history. Keper is the backup CF.

 

There is no good reason to rush a decision unless the team has to cut payroll or we can trade one of Sano, Rosario or Kepler for pitching that can help at the Major League level. We can't do anything about a payroll decision. To me the baseball decision is actually pretty easy. Keep Rosatrio and try to sign him to a team friendly contract. Failing that, let him play the year on an arbitration deal, potentially trading him at the deadline for help. 

 

Also, thanks for the analysis. It's spot on. I also agree that we'll learn a lot about how the team and FO plan to play the next few years with this decision.  

    • wabene and rdehring like this
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Major League Ready
Nov 22 2020 02:22 PM

 

Some say that it's hard to see the Twins keeping Rosario, Cruz, Sano, and Kepler both because of cost and because they have Kiriloff, Rooker and Larnach in the wings. I think we should all recoginize that prospects often turn out to be Fools Gold and don't justify trading or releasing a player who has established major league credentials. That very well may be the case here. More importantly, we don't need to be in a rush to find that out unless the Twins simply don;t want to pay the frieght. If they will for one year, we can keep everyone and have the best team possible while keeping all of our oprions open. 

 

I wonder why the rush to a decision on Rosario. We have him for the year at $9-10m. He loses trade value over time unless he's signed but those who predict or advocate for releasing him must assume he has no trade value now so the timing issue isn't relevant. Let's remember that this is a this year issue only. There will be room for prospects next year when Cruz isn't around any more. Releasing Rosario makes the least sense; trading him and arbitration if he isn't valuable enough to trade make more sense long term. 

 

I would play this out. Try to sign Rosario to a team friendly 3-4 year deal. If that doesn't work, and it mostly likely won't, go to arbitration and live with the results. There is room for at least one of the prospects on the roster as the backup first baseman/fifth outfielder, two if we want to dump Cave. Frankly, if these prospects aren't better than Wade and Cave, there is absolutely no reason to try to make roster space for any of them. We can always keep negotiating with Rosario for a team friendly deal, trade him at the deadline or, worst case scenario, have him for a year and then let him test every agency. There will be at bats for the prospects evenif they aren't everyday players given Rocco's desire to rest players, Cruz' age, and Buxton and Sanos injury history. Keper is the backup CF.

 

There is no good reason to rush a decision unless the team has to cut payroll or we can trade one of Sano, Rosario or Kepler for pitching that can help at the Major League level. We can't do anything about a payroll decision. To me the baseball decision is actually pretty easy. Keep Rosatrio and try to sign him to a team friendly contract. Failing that, let him play the year on an arbitration deal, potentially trading him at the deadline for help. 

 

Also, thanks for the analysis. It's spot on. I also agree that we'll learn a lot about how the team and FO plan to play the next few years with this decision.  

 

 

I agree if he can be signed to a team friendly deal. However, I don't see that coming together before the arbitration deadline. If it comes down to Rooker / Kirilloff or Larnach + $10M allocated to a free agent vs resigning Rosario, the team is better of with one of the prospects or even Cave and $10M allocated to a free agent, IMO.

 

It's also possible the FO will gamble that Covid vaccines will be widely distributed by spring and we will have a normal season.It seems unlikely they would make that assumption but the equation would change in that case.

    • TopGunn#22, Dman and wabene like this
Regardless whether you believe Eddie's production is based on his spot in the lineup, it's going to be really hard to replace that power and production AND lose Cruz...potentially...at the same time. I have high hopes for Kirilloff and Larnach both and reasonably high hopes for Rooker as well. I could see all 3 in Minnesota at some point this coming season. But I'm not willing to bank on them replacing the production of a pair of proven vets.

I don't know if the Twins and Rosario are, indeed, considering a 1yr deal to avoid arbitration and a potential DFA or not. There is a logic to it from both sides of the are. I certainly don't see room for both he and Cruz remaining unless the payroll sticks in the $138-$140M range.

At tbe end of the day, I see the Twins preferring to keep Nellie for a few different reasons. But there is a definite logic to your thoughts, Tom. I'm still betting on a DFA at this point.
    • beckmt and wabene like this

If Rosario's agent is smart this is the year to take a team friendly offer.There are a lot of players going to be non-tendered, and all offices know what they are getting.Best reason not to is that the White Sox and Indians might be in, but the Indians only if cheap.Difficult position.

    • wabene likes this

When Castellanos can get a 4/64 contract there is always a chance as a free agent Rosario could make a big paycheck if a free agent. Granted it would take a mediocre team thinking they are on the cusp of being good. There seems to be one a year. Being non tendered is a risk, but it could be the agent’s game plan

 

A team could give up a few 13-14 ranked prospect types for a year . Again, all it takes is one overly optimistic GM. One year at 10-12 is still cheaper than 16.  A trade is always a decent probability 

 

The agent could fill strongly about the numbers and think they can win at arbitration and thus not negotiating a team deal. 

 

I don’t think a team friendly deal would be in the works.

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strumdatjaguar
Nov 22 2020 08:11 PM
Keep Eddie for another year - no multiyear deal. He is undervalued by other teams. He makes a decent contribution to the Twins At some point, the Twins need to let some veteran outfielders move on, and let the future start with their many talented and ready younger players
I think it’s time to move on. I think Kirilloff is going to be much better. Rosario’s mental lapses have gotten old
    • TopGunn#22 and Dman like this

If I have to choose between Cruz or Rosario, I take Cruz 11 out of 10 timesAlso, when you have talented players like Kiriloff, Rooker and Larnach who would be playing for the minimum and you could use the savings to strengthen the team in other areas you do 

 

And when I'd rather have Kiriloff at 1B and in my lineup and I can trade Sano for something needed as well as use the $$$ saved to strengthen the team in other areas, I do it

 

The Twins haven't won a playoff game in how long ???

 

It's time to shake things up.Less strikeouts, more contact, better AB's, new blood and a stronger team top to bottom.

 

Change is needed.

    • Dman, Major League Ready, DocBauer and 1 other like this
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LA VIkes Fan
Nov 22 2020 10:48 PM

By the way, while I think we shoudl keep Rosario I could be see trading Sano if we can get anything of real value for him. He's redundant as a big power/high SO guy. On this team he bats 6th or 7th, if we keep Rosario, and his production could be replaced by a Kiriloff/Rooker platoon. The problem is that after last year I don't think he has a lot of trade value.

 

My guess is that the FO is exploring at least 5 possibilities that involve Rosario, (1) keeping him and trading Sano or Kepler for pitching (maybe a young controllable MLB reliever plus a AA MiLB starter with upside), (2) signing Rosario to a 2-4 year team fiendly contract for maybe an average of 7-9m, and using Dobnak and a guy like Kluber as the #4 and #5 starters, (3) using that roughly $9-10m assumed arbitration salary on a decent but limited starting pitcher for the #4 spot with Dobnak in the #5 hole, (4) finding a $12-15m starter for the #3 or #4 spot and either cutting Rosario or more likely to me trading him for MiLB prospects, or (5) just letting it ride with the arbitration salary and making the trade decision in July. All of these work better than just a DFA of Rosario.

 

My money's on option 5, but I'd be fine with any of the 5 options. i just don't want to see the Twins DFA Rosario, not sign a #3 or #4 starter and basically roll next year with the same team minus Odorizzi and Rosario. That option does not appeal.  

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Major League Ready
Nov 23 2020 08:52 AM

 

By the way, while I think we shoudl keep Rosario I could be see trading Sano if we can get anything of real value for him. He's redundant as a big power/high SO guy. On this team he bats 6th or 7th, if we keep Rosario, and his production could be replaced by a Kiriloff/Rooker platoon. The problem is that after last year I don't think he has a lot of trade value..  

 

I am not a huge Sano fan and he struggled in the shortened 2020 season. However, so did many other good players. In the last full season (2019) Sano had a 923 OPS and a wRC+ of 137. He hit a HR ever 12.9 ABs. Rosario’s highest OPS & wRC+ for a season is 836 / 117. In 2019, had an OPS of 800 and a wRC+ of 103 in 2019. He hit a HR every 18.4 ABs.

 

Sano showed in 2019 he was able to adapt to the adjustments the league made in pitching him. He ranked 68th out of 273 players with 300+ ABs in plate discipline which was the best on the team. Rosario’s plate discipline was not only the worst on the ream, he was 268th. He was just as bad in 2020. Only 8 players with 150+ ABs had worse plate discipline.

 

I don’t know for sure Sano will bounce back when we back to normal or closer to normal but at least he has demonstrated the desire an ability to adjust to the league. Eddie continues to demonstrate he is unwilling or unable to adjust to the league and he is very unlikely to be above average without better plate discipline.

    • Dman, DocBauer, kenbuddha and 2 others like this

If I have to choose between Cruz or Rosario, I take Cruz 11 out of 10 times ...

 

It's time to shake things up. Less strikeouts, more contact, ...

Eddie struck out fewer times as a percentage than any other regular on the team except Arraez. Nellie ranked worse than league-average.

 

Eddie's balls-in-play percentage was better than league average, as well.

 

Those aren't necessarily the criteria by which I would judge players, but even by your criteria, I don't understand choosing Cruz.
 

    • DocBauer and Vanimal46 like this

Like it or not our best Prospects are outfielders and if they are on the 40 man they need to be used.Rooker, Kirilloff, and Larnach need to start playing Major league ball and Left field is the best place for them to start.  

 

I like Rosario and a DFA seems a waste to me but if he is sooo good why can't the Twins seem to trade him?Probably because he has his limitation's.He is definitely an unpredictable and dangerous hitter but he has his warts too and other teams appear to be Leary of his potential as well.

 

I concur with others who have said that it is time to move on.Use the young assets you have to replace Rosario and use the saved money to strengthen the team in other areas.  

    • DocBauer likes this

Eddie isn't staying on a 1-year team friendly deal. Not being offered arbitration is a slight, even if it's a "business decision." He might sign for $8 somewhere, but not in MN. Players move on when this happens.

    • ashbury, Major League Ready and DocBauer like this

Eddie struck out fewer times as a percentage than any other regular on the team except Arraez. Nellie ranked worse than league-average.
 
Eddie's balls-in-play percentage was better than league average, as well.
 
Those aren't necessarily the criteria by which I would judge players, but even by your criteria, I don't understand choosing Cruz.


Hey Ash, I agreed with the sentiment from TopGun's post of picking Cruz 11 times out of 10 over Rosario. I agree with you about what criteria and numbers may or may not be chosen to make said arguement. And so I like and agree with your post as well.

Baseball is a game obsessed with numbers and statistics. We all know this, and it's for good and viable reasons, I do think, at times there are SO MANY numbers that reality gets lost and you can make/find numbers to say what you want. So while I am not disagreeing with you, or anyone, I'm using these combined arguements to make a point of my own beliefs/opinions.

I think I've been pretty clear on the record as loving Rosario, believe he's given a bum rap at times that "anyone" could produce his numbers the last couple of seasons, and I hate to see him go. The reality is the Twins are deep with OF talent ready or nearly so to take his spot. The current finances of MLB make him probably the "easiest" person to replace on the roster due to expected financial considerations. And if I had to choose the better overall hitter in Cruz for 2021, again, he's my choice. I believe he has at least one more really good year left in him. Beyond that is a question mark based on history. His potentially one really good season also helps the young players have a season to get a accustomed and ready to roll.

All things being equal, I'd rather the FO bite the bullet for 2021 and keep payroll in the same $138-140M range and keep both for another year and work the kids in while still having room to make additions. Fantasy land? Maybe. But the taste of that bullet for another year isn't so bitter if the team has a real shot to do something.

But if someone has to go, I'm voting Rosario.

*Side Note: Still on target as it seems to be part of this discussion, the more I reflect, and after listening to some very interesting/valid discussion from John and Aaron on their most recent podcast, I confess to wavering somewhat on Cruz being a MUST re-sign. When I start to think about various options such as Brantley, Ozuna, Turner and possibly Santana or even Moreland as possible for the same or less $ per, I'm starting to wonder and debate.

Bottom line, of the outfield of Rosario, Buxton and Kepler, Rosario has been the MVP of that group. Kepler hasn’t hit except for 2/3 of one season. Buxton is injured way too much to count on for a WS champion. Only Rosario has been steady in his HR and RBI production and has the best practical arm of all 3. I don’t trust these SABR stats, which are very new in the history of baseball going back to the 1850s. Batting average, OBP, HR and RBI were good enough for 120 years. I think the WAR statistic is dubiously formatted, for example, taking too much from Eddie for defensive reasons.

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tony&rodney
Nov 23 2020 07:19 PM

The lack of direction by MLB on a DH decision is also pertinent to this post. Cruz and Rosario are linked as moderate payroll tickets. The Twins might have enviable depth in corner outfielders/dh/1B, but the team wants to win next summer as well. The loss of both Rosario and Cruz would be stiff because neither would return an asset.

Free agent signings return quality without loss of current players. This is attractive.

The Twins should be looking for three or four pitchers and a couple of utility players.

My best guess is that this is a busy week of discussing FA, trades, and rosters spots.

The market is real slow right now and that December 2 deadline to tender is close.

Unless the team makes some moves in the next week, I expect Rosario to be tendered a contract. The loss of both Eddie and Nelson would too tough right now. 

You gotta keep either Rosario or Cruz. If not then you must sign someone like Brantley. Yes the youngsters need their chance but we need depth. Non tendering Rosie on a personal level would be tough and I wonder how that plays in the clubhouse. Signing and trading Rosie at some point would be great but I don't know how your going to keep him and Cruz because we are short a starter.