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  • Revisiting the Eddie Rosario Decision


    Cody Christie

    A Minnesota fan favorite, Eddie Rosario has come up with big plays for the Braves during their playoff run. Let’s take a look back at Minnesota’s decision to let go of Rosario.

     

    Image courtesy of Brad Rempel, USA TODAY Sports

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    Last December, the Twins had a tough decision to make about offering a contract to Eddie Rosario. He was heading to his final year of arbitration eligibility, and he was expected to cost around $12 million in arbitration. To put that in perspective, Rosario was coming off a season where FanGraphs had him pegged at providing $7.7 million worth of value to the Twins. The front office used the money not spent on Rosario to sign 40% of the team's starting rotation.

    Minnesota also had other options for filling corner outfield spots. Alex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach were both expected to make their regular season debuts in 2021, and they were scheduled to cost significantly less than Rosario. Each had the potential to provide equal or more value than Rosario during the 2021 season, so this made it easier to make their Rosario decision. He was designated for assignment and no other teams put a claim on him. 

    Rosario eventually signed with Cleveland at the end of January for $8 million. He played in 78 games and hit .254/.296/.389 (.686) with 23 extra-base hits. Among AL outfielders with 300 plate appearances, he ranked in the bottom eight in wRC and wOBA. His 86 OPS+ was five points fewer than his previous career low. At the trade deadline, Rosario was traded to Atlanta for Pablo Sandoval, who Cleveland immediately cut. 

    The Braves added multiple outfielders at the deadline to try and make up for the loss of Ronald Acuna Jr. Rosario found his swing again with the Braves as the club was fighting for a playoff spot. In 33 games, he hit .271/.330/.573 (.903), which raised his OPS+ by 45 points compared to his time in Cleveland. He hit seven home runs in fewer than 100 at-bats which were as many home runs as he had in over 280 at-bats before the trade. 

    During the NLDS, Rosario went 4-for-13 with two RBI and a walk as the Braves surprised the Brewers. In the NLCS, his bat has continued to stay hot. Through the first four games of the series, he went 10-for-12 with two home runs, one triple, and six RBI. Rosario has clearly impacted Atlanta’s success so far this October. 

    Fans may be excited by Rosario contributing to a team having postseason success, but the front office still made the right decision when it came to tendering him a contract. He was still a well below-average player for a majority of the season in Cleveland. As Twins fans recall, Rosario is a very streaky hitter, and he happens to be in the midst of one of his hot streaks at the season’s most impactful time of the year. 

    Rosario will hit the free-agent market again this winter, and his market will largely remain unchanged. He makes poor baserunning mistakes and plays below-average defense. His offense also doesn’t make up for his other deficiencies. Rosario can undoubtedly be exciting, but Minnesota made the right decision in the short and long term. 

    What are your thoughts on Rosario’s playoff performance so far? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. 

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    No stats can measure excitement, energy, happiness.  I would not have signed Eddie for $12 mil, but then I would not sign any player for that much MLB play money.  However, if I were the Twins I would have looked at an extension in the Polanco, Kepler signing period - the same with Berrios and Buxton.  

    Yes we had Kiriloff and Larnach -  Kiriloff made 59 games and had an OPS of 98 and 0.6 WAR.  He has missed a lot of time with injuries in the minors and that concerns me.  Plus Kiriloff looks like he is going to be 1B not LF.    Larnach was brought up too early gave us 0.5 WAR and 88 OPS in 79 games.  Let's hope he finds the batting eye he started the year with.    Arraez is not a good LF and does not have enough power for the corner.  Did we need Eddie for one more year?  My answer would be yes.

    But the decision is over and I wish both the team and prospects and Eddie the best. 

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    54 minutes ago, mikelink45 said:

    No stats can measure excitement, energy, happiness.  I would not have signed Eddie for $12 mil, but then I would not sign any player for that much MLB play money.  However, if I were the Twins I would have looked at an extension in the Polanco, Kepler signing period - the same with Berrios and Buxton.  

    Yes we had Kiriloff and Larnach -  Kiriloff made 59 games and had an OPS of 98 and 0.6 WAR.  He has missed a lot of time with injuries in the minors and that concerns me.  Plus Kiriloff looks like he is going to be 1B not LF.    Larnach was brought up too early gave us 0.5 WAR and 88 OPS in 79 games.  Let's hope he finds the batting eye he started the year with.    Arraez is not a good LF and does not have enough power for the corner.  Did we need Eddie for one more year?  My answer would be yes.

    But the decision is over and I wish both the team and prospects and Eddie the best. 

    Well, obviously the Twins were also hoping for a bounceback from Jake Cave to fill in some of those LH ABs in the OF to prevent Kirilloff or Larnach from having to carry the burden before they were ready. Unfortunately, Cave struggled, got seriously injured, and never bounced back. Considering how effective he'd been pre-pandemic, it wasn't a crazy bet, but it was one that didn't work out.

    I think the Twins would have been happy to keep Eddie Rosario from another season, just not for $9M+, and once that decision happened Eddie was gone because pride gets in the way. He'd take less money (he had no choice) but wasn't going to take less from the Twins. Kirilloff was more effective in fewer games even with the injury and cost the league minimum, so it's hard to say the twins made a mistake: they didn't, no matter how fun Eddie Rosario is. He's having one of his patented hot streaks with Atlanta right now, which is great for them, but no team is going to bet on eddie staying hot like that for a full season.

    He's a good player and a useful one. but he's not a guy to commit to for 3+ years and for significant money. he's had two seasons with a bWAR over 2, and one was his rookie season. (to be fair he probably would have met that in 2020 if there had been enough games). He's likely to be worth 1-2 bWAR next year, containing a fantastic hot stretch and a couple of brutal cold ones at the plate, while adding very little else on the field (the baserunning is poor, the fielding is poor, and that stuff matters). He's unlikely to get a multi-year contract. he is who he is. 

    He's made over $20M in MLB and been a starter for basically 6 seasons. Good for him. But it's a poor financial and baseball decision to pay him more than $5-6M at this point and he was never going to agree to stay with the twins at that number.

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    1 hour ago, old nurse said:

    In the cold cruel world of data you are correct. There is still the question in the individual completion of baseball does he bring that something that makes a team much better

    He apparently didn't bring that something to Cleveland, because, yeah, they were not good.

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    I will repeat what I have said 500 times on this site.  When they let Eddie go they lost the heart and soul of this team.  The result, the Twins played heartless baseball in 2021.  And yes, Eddie lost his group and didn’t do anything special in Cleveland. 
     

    with the added excitement of the playoffs, Eddie is having one of his hot streaks.  On the other hand, I can’t disagree with anything written above except the comment about his defense.  Yes, he will make the occasional head scratcher mistake, but he will make just as many plays that are exceptional.

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    36 minutes ago, roger said:

    I will repeat what I have said 500 times on this site.  When they let Eddie go they lost the heart and soul of this team.  The result, the Twins played heartless baseball in 2021.  And yes, Eddie lost his group and didn’t do anything special in Cleveland. 

    I blame a lot of this season on the players, as they are the ones who are getting paid Millions and they aren’t performing, but this team wasn’t exactly set for success with the starting rotation the FO put together.

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    Eddie was not worth the $10-12 million. The Twins felt they had Kirilloff in the mix, Cave as backup, and even felt good enough about Rooker to let Wade go. It was all about money, and the Twins invested that money in Happ and Shoemaker...and, yes, it didn't look as bad as it turned out to be.

     

    Will be interesting to see what happens with Eddie in the off-season. Will he find a taker who will give him $20-25 million for three seasons? Do you see him getting more? I'm sure if the Twins could've signed him for $20 million, they might've taken the gamble. I'm sure Eddie thought he would do better than the $8 he got from Cleveland.

     

    But like with Ortiz, hands were tied. You pay them more than you think they are worth at the moment, or let them walk. Ortiz passed thru alot of waivers, Eddie was passed over by a lot of teams. The economics of arbitration. You either sign them early (Kepler, Polanco, Sano) or it swings to the advantage of the player to head for free agency - but that only works if the player produces to get the BIG or multi-year contract.

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    Kirillof, Larnach, Garlick, Refsnyder, Celestino & Cave.  Could very easily have kept their leading run producer from each of the three prior seasons.  I even remember a time when management would have been ridiculed for allowing that kind of production to leave rather than pony up for $8-$10 million.  Could have kept Eddie.  Brought up Kiriloff whenever they thought was best to game the system and divided OF starts between, Eddie, Buck, Kep and Kiriloff with someone getting a start at DH every week to 10 days.  Second most plate appearances by an OF in 2021 was Larnach at 301.  Would have been plenty of ABs to go around.  When  those injuries come you  throw Larnach into the mix and never have to lay eyes on a guy like Cave again.  You don't get better when your good players are playing for other teams.  And I haven't even mentioned the one thing Eddie has always brought to the party that can't be measured -- HEART.  Which, let's be honest, outside of half a season from Polanco, NOBODY on this team had this year.

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    7 hours ago, prouster said:

    Man, I'd hate to be in a relationship with some folks here, given how frequently the past gets brought up.

    Especially good to forget the past season too.🥸

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    15 hours ago, KGB said:

    At the time, the David Ortiz decision was correct. He cleared waivers and ended up doing okay.

    He just found better PEDs in Boston than he did in Minnesota

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    12 hours ago, roger said:


    with the added excitement of the playoffs, Eddie is having one of his hot streaks.  On the other hand, I can’t disagree with anything written above except the comment about his defense.  Yes, he will make the occasional head scratcher mistake, but he will make just as many plays that are exceptional.

    The defense is part of those "hot streaks" as well - both his hitting and his defense are maddeningly inconsistent.  If the Braves win the NLCS, I would hate to be a Braves fan every time a ball would be hit to left field and have to hold my breath every time. 

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    He is just being the player he always was.  He will get on hot streaks and can carry a team, but he will also always have stretches where you wonder why he is on the team at all.  Cleveland saw that first hand.  You always have to take the good with the bad with Eddie.  I always liked him, but he is not an above replacement guy overall.  Good for him with what he is doing in Atlanta, but no team will give him a long term deal based on this.  I bet Eddie has max 3 more seasons and he will bounce around signing 1 year deals getting traded or cut a few times is my guess. 

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    You are right as always.  You come across so often as knowing everything about everything.  Perhaps you should become the Twins GM.  All kidding aside,bi do agree with your assessment on Eddie.  Perhaps when the Twins knew they weren't going to bring him back they could maybe have gotten a prospect or something instead of letting him go for nothing at all.  To me Eddie should have been gone but not this way.  It kind of adds to the elongating list of strange moves made by this FO.

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    On 10/21/2021 at 2:25 PM, dex8425 said:

    He apparently didn't bring that something to Cleveland, because, yeah, they were not good.

    I would. Hope someday you will understand the emotion behind thinking you are important to an organization then discovering you are not. The time he had in Cleveland was the rebound

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    Eddie! If hitting had been the team’s major problem this year, I’d say ‘Blame the lost season on his absence.’ Not so, of course, but who’s to say a team with Eddie doesn’t win more games than Cleveland?

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    It's pretty baffling how we could get Joe Ryan and strotman for Nellie Cruz

    And not a single Elisier Hernandez or Sixto Sanchez from a Marlins team that could of used Eddie Rosario badly

     

    I said it at the time and ill say it again

    The fact the Twins could not find a suitor for Rosie is pretty baffling 

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    10 hours ago, Shs_2 said:

    It's pretty baffling how we could get Joe Ryan and strotman for Nellie Cruz

    And not a single Elisier Hernandez or Sixto Sanchez from a Marlins team that could of used Eddie Rosario badly

     

    I said it at the time and ill say it again

    The fact the Twins could not find a suitor for Rosie is pretty baffling 

    It's pretty simple really.  He would have cost $10M+ for any team that traded for him.  He produced .9 WAR this season.  Therefore, he had negative value.  Teams like Atlanta had options like David Duvall as a free agent for $5M and he produced 2.4 WAR.  Why would a team pay twice as much and trade prospects for a significantly inferior player?

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    On 10/22/2021 at 5:14 AM, LanceJS said:

    The defense is part of those "hot streaks" as well - both his hitting and his defense are maddeningly inconsistent.  If the Braves win the NLCS, I would hate to be a Braves fan every time a ball would be hit to left field and have to hold my breath every time. 

    Not true - you and everyone else in Twinsdom would love to be a Braves team and see your team make it into the World Series.  That is the goal, and Eddie just took his team there. 

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    On 10/21/2021 at 12:51 PM, mikelink45 said:

    No stats can measure excitement, energy, happiness.  I would not have signed Eddie for $12 mil, but then I would not sign any player for that much MLB play money.  However, if I were the Twins I would have looked at an extension in the Polanco, Kepler signing period - the same with Berrios and Buxton.  

    Yes we had Kiriloff and Larnach -  Kiriloff made 59 games and had an OPS of 98 and 0.6 WAR.  He has missed a lot of time with injuries in the minors and that concerns me.  Plus Kiriloff looks like he is going to be 1B not LF.    Larnach was brought up too early gave us 0.5 WAR and 88 OPS in 79 games.  Let's hope he finds the batting eye he started the year with.    Arraez is not a good LF and does not have enough power for the corner.  Did we need Eddie for one more year?  My answer would be yes.

    But the decision is over and I wish both the team and prospects and Eddie the best. 

    There’s a metric for everything

    https://worldhappiness.report

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