Cleveland Guardians: The case against trading Amed Rosario

Shortstop Amed Rosario has been a popular name included in potential trade scenarios for the Cleveland Guardians, but here is why the team would be wise to keep him.

Amed Rosario’s name comes up a lot when talking about potential trade scenarios for the Cleveland Guardians. It’s not surprising why – everyone under the sun knows Andrés Giménez  is a better defensive shortstop, and the experiment of Rosario playing more left field this season fell apart almost immediately.

And, of course, the Guardians have an absurd glut of middle infield talent ready to break into the majors – guys like Gabriel Arias, Tyler Freeman, and Brayan Rocchio will soon be pushing for playing time in Cleveland if they aren’t eventually traded themselves.

And as Rosario struggled out of the gate this season offensively, the calls to include him in a trade – any trade – got louder and louder. But even as the future might look bright for the Guardians’ infield, the team would be far better served keeping Rosario, a beloved member of the clubhouse, a part of this group for as long as possible.

Why shouldn’t the Guardians trade Amed Rosario?

Right now, Rosario is in the midst of a hot streak at the plate, having just had his 12-game hitting streak snapped Sunday following an 0-for-5 day in Cleveland’s 5-3 victory over the Dodgers. Still, since May 30, he is batting .329/.333/.494 with a homer, six doubles, and two triples, raising his season batting average nearly 40 points. He’s gotten hot at the perfect time too, slotting into the second spot in the order after rookie Steven Kwan was pushed down in the lineup.

At the age of 26 – Rosario is still very young himself – he’s beginning to put together his best season in the majors. Rosario’s xBA of .287 is the highest of his career and he’s striking out just 14% of the time, the lowest mark of his career. He’s still working his way out of the depths of his ice-cold start to the season, but he’s been one of Cleveland’s most important hitters during the team’s recent run of six straight series wins.

That all being said, Rosario’s cold streaks can be just as frustrating as his hot streaks are exciting, and when that’s happening, the patience for any of Rosario’s defensive miscues among fans is razor-thin. But that’s not so much the reason why plenty of people peg him as a trade target. Most people simply see Rosario as a man without a true position, soon to be pushed out by any one of the highly touted prospects in the minors.

That day may ultimately come, but it’s putting immediate trust in prospects who may or may not pan out at the major-league level, or at least start hitting day one, and there’s no guarantee they’ll do so as well or as better than Rosario, who has a 96 OPS+ in his time in Cleveland to date. That’s a tick under league average, but parting ways even with a league-average bat in the name of a prospect at the same position is a tricky proposition when the decision isn’t financially motivated.

We often make assumptions about prospects and how they’ll perform at the major-league level, and fans are often far more willing to part ways with a known commodity for an exciting unknown. But baseball being the immensely difficult sport that it is, a move like that certainly doesn’t always pan out. And with the Guardians already being the youngest team in the league now in the midst of a surprising season of contention, they can afford to tread more carefully in any acquisition they attempt to make.

Perhaps more importantly as well, the Guardians control Rosario’s services for another season, and even in arbitration, he should come at a favorable price for Cleveland.

There’s no denying Amed Rosario is in a weird position considering the current construction of the Guardians’ roster and what it may look like in another season or two. And the day may come where it makes perfect sense to trade Amed Rosario, but right now, Cleveland’s best move is to do nothing at all.