Should the Cleveland Guardians bring back Eddie Rosario
Remember that time long ago when Cleveland traded Eddie Rosario to the Atlanta Braves at the trade deadline? Cleveland’s front office did the logical thing and the move made sense. Eddie Rosario was a veteran playing out a one-year deal and it was not very likely that Cleveland would have have re-signed him. That is, however, until he struggled through the 2021 campaign.
Rosario didn’t hit very well with Cleveland and at the time of his trade he was on the 10-day injured list with a right abdominal strain. So, let’s examine his time with Cleveland, his transformation with Atlanta and why the Cleveland Guardians should explore the notion of signing him back this offseason.
With Cleveland, Rosario played in 78 games before getting hurt against the Tampa Bay Rays in early July. He suffered a right abdominal injury and would end up being sidelined for over a month. At that point in the season, Cleveland was already well out of the Postseason race and his value was minimal due to the poor season. Cleveland ended up trading him to Atlanta for Pablo Sandoval, who was immediately released, proving it was just a salary dump.
Rosario was having a horrific season with a .254 average with an OBP of under .300. His OPS was under .700 and his OPS+ was 85, which is 15 points below the league average. His defense has never been good and that certainly didn’t change this year. He very well could’ve been playing hurt through some of the season, but his numbers were still very low compared to his career averages. He had just seven home runs and 46 RBI while his previous career high was 32 home runs and 109 RBI in 2019, just two seasons ago.
Once in Atlanta, Rosario was presented an opportunity that resulted in better results. Atlanta needed a replacement for their injured star, Ronald Acuna. They took a tremendous gamble trading for an injured player with no assurances of exactly when he would return. Rosario didn’t return to the field until early August and nobody could’ve seen his production coming.
Once healthy, Rosario hit the ground running with the Braves. In 200 less at bats he posted seven home runs, just like he did in Cleveland. His OPS was just over .900 and his OPS+ jumped to 131. What a difference being healthy and playing for a contender could make. If that was the end of the story, everyone could say it was just fluke with around 100 at-bats.
Then came the Postseason. Rosario has been the best hitter on the team, and he will most likely end up winning the NLCS MVP if the Braves can finish the series against the Dodgers. He has hit close to .500, going 14-for-30, with two home runs and eight RBI. He also has a stolen base and has shown some excellent base running that helped them win a game. His OPS is close to 1,300 as he’s having a Postseason for the ages.
As for Rosario future after the 2021 season, his value next offseason will be much higher than it was when Cleveland signed him to a one-year deal worth $8 million dollars. At 30-years old he is primed for a multi year deal.
I could see a team going up to three years with him. His highest offer could be three years $45 million. Cleveland should bring him back because he solves the club’s biggest problem: their lack of outfield offense. I’ve exhausted this topic at length, but the bottom line is that they need a lot of offensive help.
A healthy Rosario with a clean slate could do wonders for the Cleveland Guardians in 2022. Obviously it goes without saying that Rosario is a solid start, but as I brought up in a previous article, Cleveland is still a few pieces away from being a formidable contender again. Eddie Rosario will at the very least be a solid start to build from.