Three Strikes: Why Eddie Rosario Should Leave
Eddie Is Who He Is
Which is a solid contributor who is as likely to decline as he is improve. He’s never really learned any but the most bare bones strike zone discipline, limiting him to a career on-base percentage of just .310. He’s been effective because of his power, but power isn’t something the Twins have lacked in this lineup. His speed in the outfield has slowed so his defense is declining, and likely to decline further.
He’s an above average regular, but he’s never been an All-Star level outfielder and he isn’t especially likely to be. The Twins may be getting rid of him a year too early. But as the saying goes, that’s better than a year too late.
He Drives Us Crazy
Having a free-swinger in the middle of the Twins order often proved counter-productive. A young pitcher would grind against disciplined hitters like Max Kepler, Josh Donaldson and Nelson Cruz – and up would walk Eddie Rosario like a blast of fresh air. Rosario could make them pay on occasion – his RBI totals demonstrate that – but that .310 OBP would often provide them the lifeline they needed.
Plus, of course, his bizarre choices on the bases and in the field could be maddening. Like running through an obvious stop sign to get thrown out. Or refusing to pick up a ball at his feet because he thought it was out of play. (Yes, those links are to the same video from the same game. It also includes some good plays. Such is the Eddie Rosario Experience.)
He’s Too Expensive
In this pandemicized MLB market, it looks like free agents – and especially hitters – are going to be available at bargain prices. And while the Twins are well-situated with a low committed payroll, they’ll obviously have financial limitation since we still don’t know if fans will be allowed in Target Field.
The Twins put Rosario on waivers last night, even though the non-tender deadline was today, to give him a chance to latch on with another team that would voluntarily offer him arbitration, and thus commit to paying him around $10M. If no team claims him – and I suspect none will, since the Twins clearly tried to trade him before this deadline – it confirms that Rosario’s built-in arbitration raise just made him too expensive to keep.
Plus, the Twins have a number of replacements that could replace his production. Their top prospect, Alex Kirilloff, is a left-handed hitting corner outfielder and was called up for the playoffs last year. His ceiling looks potentially higher than Eddie’s, and he’s just 23 years old. Their third best prospect, Trevor Larnach, is also a left-handed hitting corner outfielder who looks like he’s close to the majors. They also have other options who could fill a portion of the role like Jake Cave, Lamonte Wade Jr. and Brent Rooker.
Rosario is the kind of player a competitive team makes a tough decision on and lets go. He’s good, but he’s not great, and he’s not likely to get better. He’s right at the point where he’s getting expensive, there are better opportunities on the market, and he’s the organization had worked hard to develop internal replacements who deserve their shot. Eddie will likely go on to have a successful career with another team. But that team doesn’t need to be the Twins.
Now read Three Strikes: Why Eddie Rosario Should Stay
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