Shortstop Amed Rosario sent Cleveland Guardians Twitter into a frenzy over the weekend with a series of cryptic tweets that hinted at something brewing.
In this case, it looks like at least the genesis of contract extension talks between Rosario's camp and the Guardians front office. While nothing official has happened to this point, it has been confirmed the discussions have at least begun.
Why Would the Guardians Sign Rosario to an Extension?
It's a valid question considering the Guardians have a wealth of infield prospect talent just waiting to reach the majors. Gabriel Arias and Tyler Freeman have already made their major-league debuts, but players like Brayan Rocchio, José Tena, Juan Brito, and Angel Martínez are all knocking on the door as well.
But here's the thing: Prospects are prospects for a reason, and it would be unwise to bank a team's future on unproven commodities when you can prevent it. The fact is, Cleveland has Andrés Giménez for another four seasons, which really leaves only the shortstop position as any sort of path for regular playing time anyway. Even if the Guardians did move on from Rosario, they couldn't keep all the prospects pushing for a chance to prove themselves.
And, most importantly, the Guardians are in win-now mode, and they need to consider the current construction of the roster as they compete for a World Series championship over the next 3-5 years. Rosario, 27, has a 103 OPS+ over his two seasons in Cleveland, making him a fantastic depth bat in the lineup, though he'd be especially valuable if he swapped places with, say, Giménez. But it's not exactly that easy finding a league-average bat, and there are no guarantees any of those aforementioned prospects would even be able to reach that point in their careers, let alone immediately upon entering the majors.
Not to mention Rosario is incredibly close with José Ramírez. Signing Rosario would go a long way in maintaining the clubhouse culture that helped the Guardians win the AL Central last season.
If Cleveland were to sign Rosario to a two-year deal or even a three-year contract, it would perfectly bridge the gap between the Guardians' current contention window and its tantalizing future. In the meantime, it would force the Guardians to perhaps find a creative solution in packaging at least a few prospects for some depth needed elsewhere, like the starting rotation.