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#1 Nick Nelson

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Posted 31 October 2019 - 08:25 PM

The Twins are going to make a trade this offseason. They will very likely make several. And you'd be hard-pressed to find a single player more likely to be moved – or at least dangled – by Minnesota than Eddie Rosario.

What does his market look like, realistically?Yesterday Cooper Carlson published a good piece on Rosario's downward trend, which basically makes the case for a trade on Minnesota's end. But to sum it all up, here's why the Twins likely view Rosario as an expendable piece:
  • Top prospects Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach and Brent Rooker have all reached either Triple-A or Double-A. It's all but certain at least one of these advanced bats will be ready for the big-leagues by the middle of next summer, if not sooner.
  • Jake Cave and LaMonte Wade, Jr. have both proven capable of filling in until a prospect arrives. Marwin Gonzalez can also play in left. All are superior defensively to Rosario.
  • Entering his second turn at arbitration, Rosario is only two seasons away from free agency, and his salary is going to rise significantly from this year's $4.2 million. The extent of his raise could become a point of contention, for the same reason his trade market is so tough to peg: Rosario epitomizes the philosophical divide between traditional and modern schools of performance evaluation.
Batting cleanup all year for the most powerful offense in baseball history, Rosario launched 32 homers and drove in 109 runs, both career highs. But these baseball-card fixtures overstate the quality of his performance. Rosario made outs in 70% of his plate appearances. Statcast's Outs Above Average metric rated him as the worst defensive outfielder in baseball. He ranked 11th among Twins hitters in fWAR and his wOBA sat in the vicinity of Jason Castro, Ehire Adrianza, and C.J. Cron.

Having said all that, Rosario's strengths and track record should not be entirely downplayed. Paul Molitor liked to say you always want one guy in your lineup who can thwart a pitcher that is totally dialed in. Eddie brings that "strike anytime" dynamic. When he gets on a hot streak, he borders on unstoppable, leaving pitchers with nowhere to hide. He's also a charismatic fan favorite, an energizer in the clubhouse, and a relentlessly fierce competitor.

Although his reputation as Mr. Spotlight felt a bit miscast in the second half – amid futile "Eddie" chants – it is a well earned one. His pinch-hit walk-off homer at Target Field and game-ending gundown at Fenway were among the unforgettable 2019 highlights. He batted .340 with runners in scoring position and had a .983 OPS in Close & Late situations.

Count the Twins and their analytically-inclined rookie manager among those who buy into Rosario's mystique: Rocco Baldelli wrote Rosario's name into the cleanup spot for all but five of his starts (he batted third in those).

To what extent is this sentiment shared around the league? Do other increasingly sophisticated front offices view Rosario as a player whose presence and impact transcend the overall numbers and analytical conventions? It's no secret to anyone that his defense and speed have declined sharply, but Eddie is still only 28. His athleticism is still high, and he hasn't quite reached his ceiling. Any team acquiring him gets the two final years of his 20s.

It seems fair to say that Rosario will be an appealing trade target – for the right buyer – but his market will be tempered. Who is that right buyer, and what might they be willing to offer?

Let's try and whittle down to some prospective trade partners that make sense.

Presumably they won't trade him within the division. That removes CLE, CWS, KC, DET.

It can't be a team that has no real hope of contending during Rosario's remaining two years of control. Cross off BAL, SEA, MIA, PIT, CIN.

We'll dash every team that is already loaded on offense, and/or easily capable of spending freely to get more of it: NYY, BOS, HOU, LAD, ATL, CHC, WAS, PHI, NYM, STL, COL.

Okay, that leaves us with nine teams. I'll go through them one-by-one to assess the specific matches.

TAMPA BAY RAYS

Tough to see the team that viewed Corey Dickerson as expendable giving up much for Rosario. This just isn't a Rays-like move, and they've got ample outfield depth anyway. No match.

TORONTO BLUE JAYS

I was tempted to include them among hopeless non-contenders, but they have enough young talent that they could turn the corner in a hurry, particularly if they address the pitching staff with gusto. Problem is, left fielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. was their best hitter this year, and right fielder Randal Grichuk (a very similar player to Rosario) is under contract through 2023. No match.

OAKLAND ATHLETICS

This one rather intrigues me. Oakland's primary corner outfielders – Robbie Grossman and Stephen Piscotty – combined for 19 homers and 1.4 fWAR in 2019. The A's have no outfielders among their top eight prospects, per MLB Pipeline. There's a fairly obvious need here, and acquiring Rosario would enable them to make an impact add without tying themselves up in a bulky free-agent contract. The A's are deep in arms that could appeal to the Twins. Maybe Chris Bassitt? Keep in mind that Rosario is pretty much the antithesis of a Billy Beane "Moneyball" specimen..

TEXAS RANGERS

I'm sure Eddie would LOVE to play in this park 160 times before hitting free agency. He's a career .328/.349/.517 hitter in Arlington, a notorious hitter's haven when the temps heat up. Unfortunately for him, it's tough to see the Rangers having a need, with solid corner outfield depth headed by Joey Gallo and Willie Calhoun. No match.

LOS ANGELES ANGELS

Hmmmm. Urgency is increasing for the Angels to do SOMETHING during Mike Trout's fleeting prime, lest they carry the burden of wasting one of baseball's greatest careers ever. Kole Calhoun is a free agent. They're gonna making some moves to set up new manager Joe Maddon for success; wouldn't be crazy to see a Rosario acquisition among them. Would reliever Cam Bedrosian plus a low-level prospect be a sensible return?

MILWAUKEE BREWERS

The thought of Rosario playing opposite Christian Yelich is fun. Only one problem: Ryan Braun, who remains under contract through next year, with a 2021 option. No match.

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Rosario's old partner in the Ed-n-Eddie duo, Eduardo Escobar, thrived during his first year in the desert with 35 homers and 118 RBIs. The D-backs, who sorely lacked for corner OF punch this year, could well be interested in reuniting them. Were Arizona to be open to something involving closer Archie Bradley, who like Rosie has two years of control remaining, this could be a good fit.

SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS

If there's no bad blood from the Sam Dyson fiasco, this could work. I'm not sure the Twins would be enticed by anyone on San Francisco's big-league roster, but the Giants have a number of promising arms in the minors – some close to MLB-ready.

SAN DIEGO PADRES

Over the past two winters, the Padres invested $450 million Eric Hosmer and Manny Machado. The returns thus far have been less than great. Nevertheless, GM A.J. Preller is now tasked with building around them in a reasonably efficient way. Above all, this team needs cost-efficient offensive production, although their decision to give up Franmil Reyes at the deadline in July clashes with this assumption. If they're high on Rosario, I'm sure they could easily put together a package of arms to make it worth Minnesota's while.

If you had to put your money a landing spot for Rosario, where would it be? (And that can definitely include "Minnesota.")

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#2 Seth Stohs

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Posted 31 October 2019 - 08:41 PM

Will be curious to see if the new ballpark in Arlington plays the same as the 2019 one. I would think it would be very similar. Joey Gallo played CF for them a lot this season. And, while Rosario isn't a great defensive outfielder, not sure he wouldn't be a better defensive OF than Gallo (though not sure he would be either).  

 

I think he stays. I don't think that the Twins should just trade him just to trade him. They should get a solid #3 starter for him, a reliable guy and maybe a prospect, or a couple of good prospects for him. Otherwise, just accept the HR and the hot steaks along with the wild moments and the frustrating ABs. 

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#3 Yossarian

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Posted 31 October 2019 - 08:59 PM

I'm still scratching my head wondering what Beane saw in Grossman.

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#4 D.C Twins

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Posted 31 October 2019 - 09:36 PM

Nice work Nick. Great read.

 

I suspect he'll stay with the Twins because unfortunately no one will offer enough pitching to make it worth our while...second I would go with....

 

The Angels....always best to try to make deals with teams that feel urgency and they fit the mold...

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#5 Twins1964

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Posted 01 November 2019 - 12:59 AM

Padres have great highly rated minor league depth. Rosario for a couple top pitching prospects could make sense for both teams.
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#6 Aerodeliria

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Posted 01 November 2019 - 02:40 AM

Every team needs a guy like Grossman on their roster because he takes walks--tons of them. That is why Arraez became so valuable as a Twin in the second half. He doesn't lose any sleep over taking four balls, but he is of course far better than Grossman because Grossman does strikeout. I think there are plenty of teams who wouldn't mind having a Grossman around--hopefully not as an everyday starter, but he still has value IMHO. I wasn't sad when Grossman got sent packing, but I wasn't jumping for joy either.

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#7 Aerodeliria

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Posted 01 November 2019 - 02:45 AM

 

Nice work Nick. Great read.

 

I suspect he'll stay with the Twins because unfortunately no one will offer enough pitching to make it worth our while...second I would go with....

 

The Angels....always best to try to make deals with teams that feel urgency and they fit the mold...

But the Angels unfortunately always want something for nothing, so frankly, I don't see that happening either. The Angels had a great chance to deal some talent in return for some young studs at last year's deadline but they didn't even create a ripple in a rain puddle. I think they are being very poorly managed upstairs, which IMHO believe will hurt them for years to come unless they adopt a more flexible approach.

 

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#8 Richard Swerdlick

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Posted 01 November 2019 - 03:51 AM

Maybe the Giants would send us Taylor Rogers' twin brother. Then we could really confuse the opposition.
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#9 TL

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Posted 01 November 2019 - 04:44 AM

I could see him being part of a larger package to bring in a top end starter with years of control left. Twins may be in a good position to be able to deal with more teams because they can offer up both young (but established) MLB players and top end prospects. 

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#10 rdehring

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Posted 01 November 2019 - 05:30 AM

Thanks for a reasonable look at his situation, Nick.That's compared with all the dump on Eddie pieces I have seen the past few weeks.

 

The player I see isn't the worst outfielder in baseball.Yes, he makes the boneheaded throw every once in awhile.But the player I watched before his injury was a good left fielder.How many hard hit balls hit along the left field line does he cut off and hold to a single?Constantly doing that is huge, albeit, he did a lot less of that after his injury.Several of his misplayed flyballs were also late in the season when he just wasn't running like the Eddie we have come to love.Will agree that he isn't the same defensively as I saw that first year he was called up, but the worst in baseball...don't care what the new numbers say...no way.

 

I agree that we COULD see multiple trades this winter.But I think they are going to be more like the Odorizzi trade than what everyone is proposing for Eddie.Something like Wander Javier for pitcher X make sense?Or Luke Raley for pitcher Y?Or Nick Gordon for pitcher Z?That's what I am expecting.And if it is going to be 2 prospects for one pitcher I hope it happens in the next three weeks so they can protect one extra prospect from the Rule 5. 

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#11 HrbieFan

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Posted 01 November 2019 - 06:30 AM

How about the Braves? Word is that they will move on from Markakis and they have a plethora of pitchers with high upside. A package left by Wilson, Anderson or Wright would get my attention.
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#12 TopGunn#22

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Posted 01 November 2019 - 07:05 AM

That's a great point HrbieFan, the Braves are a possibility.Oakland has a need.But I think the D-Backs are the fit.Archie Bradley intrigues me, but the Twins need starting pitching more than bullpen.I'm using Eddie in a package to get Robbie Ray.Ray takes the place of Kyle Gibson, which would be a tremendous upgrade in flat out "Stuff" to our pitching staff.If they want, the Twins and D-Backs could expand the deal to include both Ray and Bradley---maybe the Twins offer Nick Gordon and Blaine Enlow ? 

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#13 Tomj14

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Posted 01 November 2019 - 07:13 AM

"Jake Cave and LaMonte Wade, Jr. have both proven capable of filling in until a prospect arrives."

 

Can you please explain what Wade has done to be considered a capable fill in with all of his 56 major league at bats?

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#14 jay

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Posted 01 November 2019 - 07:17 AM

I get narrowing down the list, but I think there’s a few good possibilities in here:
NYY, BOS, HOU, LAD, ATL, CHC, WAS, PHI, NYM, STL, COL
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#15 Dome Dogg

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Posted 01 November 2019 - 07:42 AM

The Twins will do what they always do, keep him as long as he's cheap then let him walk for next to nothing. 

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#16 Minnesotabro

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Posted 01 November 2019 - 07:49 AM

Rosario for Kirby Yates. Maybe something else if we can bargain our way into a low end pitching prospect

#17 tarheeltwinsfan

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Posted 01 November 2019 - 07:50 AM

 

That's a great point HrbieFan, the Braves are a possibility.Oakland has a need.But I think the D-Backs are the fit.Archie Bradley intrigues me, but the Twins need starting pitching more than bullpen.I'm using Eddie in a package to get Robbie Ray. 

I agree. Remember Zack Britton's statement that World Series are won by starting pitching.

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#18 Doctor Wu

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Posted 01 November 2019 - 09:09 AM

My guess is that the Twins keep him. I just don't think he will command all much in a trade. Maybe a couple of minor league prospects but certainly no front-line starters or bullpen aces. But hey, dream on, dream on.


#19 mlhouse

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Posted 01 November 2019 - 09:30 AM

1. I think Twins fans overvalue Rosario's trade value, although this article seemed realistic.

 

2.I also think that ALL Twins hitters are being overvalued by Twins fans than by MLB GMs because I think they are going to discount some of those power numbers as an one year aberration. 

 

3.I still think a teams would want to make a deal for Rosario but it will be somewhat minor type of deal.


#20 FritzDahmus

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Posted 01 November 2019 - 09:41 AM

If Eddie can get the Twins some great starting pitching or maybe a reliever we just have to have....or a prospect they know is a can't miss....fine, then trade Eddie. But the Twins have far more important problems to solve.

 

I believe everyone can live with a LF who bats clean-up...that has a few lapses in the outfield. That used to be the definition of a Left Fielder.

 

A team can't live with a first baseman who can't dig out a throw. I've see better first baseman on softball fields.

 

A team can't live with an infield that is collectively below average defensively. They all hit....so keep all of them, or what you can....but grab a defensive star up the middle.

 

But most of all. A team can't beat anyone in the playoffs without veteran, reliable, proven, and effectively rested relievers.....and most certainly not without veteran stars as starters. Hard to get, I understand. But look what beat us and look what won it.

 

That is what you shoot for.

 




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