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  • Twins Fans Living Vicariously Through Rosario


    Ted Schwerzler

    One of the most challenging decisions, at least in terms of fanfare, over recent seasons was the one where Eddie Rosario was non-tendered. Minnesota made the right move, but right now, the exciting outfielder is shining in a Braves uniform.

    Image courtesy of Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports

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    At the end of the 2020 season, Rosario posted just a 1.0 fWAR which was worth $7.7 million. He was projected to land somewhere in the $10 million range through arbitration and fell short of that number again in 2021, putting up a 0.9 fWAR and $7.3 million valuation. The Twins saw that Rosario hadn’t been worth $10 million over a single season since 2018, and it was more than evident the type of player he was.

    No team disagreed with Minnesota’s assessment as the talented Puerto Rican went unclaimed on waivers. He ended up in Cleveland and bottomed out. The .685 OPS across 78 games was a career-low, and despite being at peak age, Rosario was finding new ways to fall short. He was sent to Atlanta for peanuts, or better yet a Panda, and somehow came alive.

    He attributes the resurgence to the warming temperature, and maybe he’s right. It’s certainly easier to perform outside of the frigid north, and Rosario’s .903 OPS in his final 33 games was the performance at its best. Now he’s on center stage and has given braves fans the full experience.

    In Game 3 of the National League Division Series, the Braves leadoff man found himself doubled off second base on a gaffe Minnesota fans had become too acquainted with. That came after the outfielder misplay against the Milwaukee Brewers on a ball hit by former Twins teammate Eduardo Escobar. That’s just half of the Eddie Rosario experience, though.

    The flip side of this coin is that Atlanta is using the former Twins lefty as a leadoff man and anchor in the middle of their lineup. He’s responded with a 1.690 OPS in the NLCS, complete with two homers, a triple, and coming up just shy of a postseason cycle. Across both rounds of the Postseason this year, Rosario is batting .467 (14-30). In six previous postseason games for the Twins, Rosario had just five hits and a .217 average (5-23).

    There are two different stories at play here, and they’re both fascinating to watch. The first is that the highs and lows of The Eddie Rosario Experience are a complete thrill ride. The man is on his way to winning the NLCS MVP, and something like that only highlights the latter point. Winning in the postseason is about getting hot at the right time. That can be a team thing or an individual completely carrying the load. It’s hard to spend and guarantee success (just ask the Dodgers in this series or the Yankees over the last decade).

    Money stacks the deck in your favor, but when you deal a Panda for an Eddie, and everything breaks right, you sit back and crack some peanuts while enjoying the show. Minnesota may be riding an 0-18 streak, but this is a thrill ride all of Twins Territory can enjoy.

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    Great write up Ted.

    My son and I were talking about this last night while watching the game, and while it was the right decision for the Twins to move on (I feel at least), I'm happy to root Eddie and the Braves on in the Post Season.

    Plus I like watching the Dodgers loose only slightly less than the Yankees or Houston... so yeah there's that as well :).

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    14 minutes ago, MN_ExPat said:

    Great write up Ted.

    My son and I were talking about this last night while watching the game, and while it was the right decision for the Twins to move on (I feel at least), I'm happy to root Eddie and the Braves on in the Post Season.

    Plus I like watching the Dodgers loose only slightly less than the Yankees or Houston... so yeah there's that as well :).

    At this point we have no outfielder that has an arm like him or a bat like his; unless .200 hitters whose fielding skills are lessor than Rosario's are the new norm for the Twins, we made an error not bringing him back.

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    18 minutes ago, RpR said:

    At this point we have no outfielder that has an arm like him or a bat like his; unless .200 hitters whose fielding skills are lessor than Rosario's are the new norm for the Twins, we made an error not bringing him back.

    Twins season was doomed in the first half, can't argue that. So your argument would have to be that Rosario's bat would've helped right the ship early in the season in order to suggest it was an error not bringing him back. In the first half when Eddie was with Cleveland he had an 86 wRC+. The Indians paid to get rid of him. They traded him and cash to Atlanta for Sandoval who they cut immediately. He was so bad they literally paid money to get rid of him. But you think he was the guy that was going to save the season?

    For reference Larnach had an 89 wRC+ on the season. Refsnyder was 86. Kirilloff was 93, Kepler 95, Garlick 99. Eddie catching fire to end the season and during this series is the definition of small sample size. Rosario wouldn't have made any difference to the results of the Twins season.

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    I posted most of my thoughts in the next Eddie article, but enjoyed your write up Ted.  Eddie has always been fun and fun is something baseball needs.  We keep waiting for Byron to break loose on the bases, but not get hurt and I love the Buxton reactions (let's not lose him), but Eddie was a joy to watch, even if he screwed up and made me laugh.  When people say he hit 215 for us in the playoffs I have to ask what the others hit.  Because I still remember some key hits.

    I do not like the Dodgers (Yankees West), but I also do not like the Braves and my focus has instead been on Eddie and his historical heroics.  I do enjoy seeing Graterol and Pressly too.  And seeing Jason Castro get a key hit was fun.  But it is Eddie who has us on a joy ride. 

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    I feel it was the correct decision to let Eddie go for this season at what it would have cost and with Kirilloff, Larnach and Arraez to try in the OF which makes it that much easier to root for his success in the postseason this year.  No bitterness.   It is always entertaining to watch him play, the good and the bad but now the bad doesn't hurt as much and the good is enjoyable.    

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    I am legit the biggest Eddie supporter ever.  He has "juice".  Totally unquantifiable, and nothing you should really base your analysis on, but as a fan, I loved him.  He is going to win the NLCS MVP, then the World Series MVP.  But, the Twins were right to let him go.  I still wear my Super Rosario hat and hoodie, and continue to love watching the whole Eddie Rosario Experience.  

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    They've perhaps gotten a little lucky with Rosario, but Kudos also to the Atlanta front office. Muddling along around .500 in a very winnable decision, they didn't curl up in the fetal position when they lost Ronald Acuna and Marcel Ozuna. They completely remade the OF and here they are, up 3-1 in the NLCS. 

     

    I wish our front office was similarly aggressive.

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    I was in attendance for the only 2 innings Eddie ever played third base in the majors, so I totally feel qualified to say the Twins missed a trick by signing that stiff Josh Donaldson* and not keeping Eddie. :)

    Good for Eddie, this past month or two.  He's a major leaguer, and capable of this kind of heroics.

    * Different off-seasons, I realize

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    10 hours ago, chpettit19 said:

    Twins season was doomed in the first half, can't argue that. So your argument would have to be that Rosario's bat would've helped right the ship early in the season in order to suggest it was an error not bringing him back. In the first half when Eddie was with Cleveland he had an 86 wRC+. The Indians paid to get rid of him. They traded him and cash to Atlanta for Sandoval who they cut immediately. He was so bad they literally paid money to get rid of him. But you think he was the guy that was going to save the season?

    For reference Larnach had an 89 wRC+ on the season. Refsnyder was 86. Kirilloff was 93, Kepler 95, Garlick 99. Eddie catching fire to end the season and during this series is the definition of small sample size. Rosario wouldn't have made any difference to the results of the Twins season.

    That is only assuming that being released from the only team he ever knew did not affect his performance or that he would have had identical at bats with the Twins; his fielding arm would have made a difference as Larnach and Rooker on their best days came up short.

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    8 hours ago, RpR said:

    That is only assuming that being released from the only team he ever knew did not affect his performance or that he would have had identical at bats with the Twins; his fielding arm would have made a difference as Larnach and Rooker on their best days came up short.

    Ok, you're right. He was just so heartbroken he couldn't hit. His reasoning was that it was cold in Cleveland and he started hitting better in Atl because it was warmer. It's cold in MN, too, so not sure he would've had great success early here if it was the weather. He's never, in his entire ML career, had a wRC+ over 117. But you think he was somehow going to carry the dumpster fire that was the Twins team for the first half of the year single handedly? And his fielding arm?! That's where we're at now? His arm would've saved the season? Come on. Nobody is saying they didn't like Eddie. Nobody is saying he's a bad player. Nobody is saying anything like that. But every team in baseball had the chance to claim Eddie and pay him his arb salary and every single team in baseball passed. Arguing that it was an error for the Twins to not pay the salary that literally every other major league baseball team refused to pay is awfully far fetched to me.

    You like Eddie. You wish they'd brought him back. But arguing he would've saved the season or it wasn't the right decision to not pay him his arb salary just doesn't have much evidence in the real world. No problem with you believing it, but it's a hard argument to make with any sort of statistical or objective evidence.

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    3 hours ago, chpettit19 said:

    Ok, you're right. He was just so heartbroken he couldn't hit. His reasoning was that it was cold in Cleveland and he started hitting better in Atl because it was warmer. It's cold in MN, too, so not sure he would've had great success early here if it was the weather. He's never, in his entire ML career, had a wRC+ over 117. But you think he was somehow going to carry the dumpster fire that was the Twins team for the first half of the year single handedly? And his fielding arm?! That's where we're at now? His arm would've saved the season? Come on. Nobody is saying they didn't like Eddie. Nobody is saying he's a bad player. Nobody is saying anything like that. But every team in baseball had the chance to claim Eddie and pay him his arb salary and every single team in baseball passed. Arguing that it was an error for the Twins to not pay the salary that literally every other major league baseball team refused to pay is awfully far fetched to me.

    You like Eddie. You wish they'd brought him back. But arguing he would've saved the season or it wasn't the right decision to not pay him his arb salary just doesn't have much evidence in the real world. No problem with you believing it, but it's a hard argument to make with any sort of statistical or objective evidence.

    No one said he would have saved the season, except you.

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    This won't go over well with most here, because the majority are into all the analytics stuff, Launch angles, spin rates blah blah blah. I love Eddie because he isn't some perfect robot that a lot seem to want players to be. I love Eddie because he's not F'n boring.

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    2 hours ago, adorduan said:

    This won't go over well with most here, because the majority are into all the analytics stuff, Launch angles, spin rates blah blah blah. I love Eddie because he isn't some perfect robot that a lot seem to want players to be. I love Eddie because he's not F'n boring.

    Umm, what is the mathematical formula for that?

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    My wife and I I watched Eddie Rosario have a nice interaction with a young couple and their small son at Ft. Myers one sunny spring day. The father and son were pitching ball, while Eddie was across the chain link fence in left field. After practice was finished, Eddie walked over to the little boy, knelt down and talked to him and his dad for a while. Eddie was so patient with the little boy who said: "Eddie, you're my favowit pwayer".  The next year we were at a spring training game and Rosario was announced over the loud speaker as coming to bat. Behind us , my wife and I heard a little voice say: "Rosario?" We turned to look and it was the same little boy, eyes aglow, watching his "Favowit Pwayer". We reminded his parents that we had seen the interaction  between Rosario and their family the prior year and we all shared a really nice moment. Therein lies a problem for me...I come to care about these players when they are in the minors chasing their dreams, I watch them mature. Most don't make it for long in the big leagues, if ever ....but some, like Eddie Rosario do. Then they get dropped, waived, or traded.  I personally think of Torii,  LaTroy, Berrios, Dozier, Kyle Gibson, Gardy, Nelson Cruz, Morneau, Mark Davidson, even Rod Carew and Harmon Killebrew, all were disposed of by the Twins. And don't forget Harold Mains and his son, Mike, who ran the Elizabethton Twins as a family franchise for years, which was recently abandoned by major league baseball. Baseball can be a cruel profession  for those of us who are sentimental  fans, but especially for the players, coaches and staff and the Elizabethton Twins "family". But baseball and the Twins have such a hold on me that I continue to dream with the minor leaguers, and those who make it to the Twins, and cheer for them all, and grieve with them when it inevitably ends.

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