The ramifications of the Cleveland Guardians extending Amed Rosario
Early Sunday afternoon, Guardians fans were treated to the news that the front office had reached out to Amed Rosario's agent regarding a contract extension. This news certainly came as a surprise, but if you take a step back and think about it, there are reasons for it and consequences that would result from such a move.
On the surface, there are reasons to keep Rosario around. He's a proven commodity, provides leadership to the younger players, and he happens to be close friends with your stud franchise cornerstone in José Ramírez. Granted, Rosario has been league average in many offensive categories for his career. But at the same time, there is no doubt that he hustles and has been a stabilizing factor since his arrival in 2021 as part of the Francisco Lindor trade with the Mets.
Assuming that a Rosario extension doesn't preclude the team from extensions with Andrés Giménez, Steven Kwan, Triston McKenzie, Cal Quantrill, and others as they approach that juncture, there are other dominoes that would most certainly fall in the wake of such a deal.
First and foremost, signing Rosario to any extension would conceivably solidify 3/4 of the infield for the next 3-4 seasons. That kind of stability and salary certainty are valuable to mid-sized and smaller-market teams like the Guardians. In addition, Rosario brings a degree of certainty with him that any other potential replacement may not meet.
Such an extension would also present a unique opportunity for the club, one that some fans may deem too costly. By extending Rosario, the need for prospects such as Gabriel Arias, Tyler Freeman, Brayan Rocchio, Angel Martínez, and José Tena are greatly reduced. At most, keeping one or two of these guys around would be plenty. The club would then really just need a utility bench player, something that would be conceivably below the ability of each of these prospects.
Turning an eye further to those prospects who would be impacted by such an extension, packaging two or three of them would be an ideal return to any team looking to swing a big haul, such as a team perhaps located in Western Pennsylvania with a disgruntled outfielder. That's right, this whole article was just a façade on how extending Rosario could net the Guardians Bryan Reynolds. Or, could you imagine a deal with the Milwaukee Brewers for Corbin Burnes? I am kidding for the most part; both of these would have seemed like pipe dreams, but with an excess of talent and nowhere to play them, you can begin to think grand in terms of a potential trade.
It simply cannot go unnoticed that should an extension with Rosario come to fruition, bundling some of the excess prospects into a deal or multiple deals would net the Guardians a sizable return.
I'm not advocating for a deal to occur or not occur. It's too early to know everything (heck, the financials haven't surfaced either, though if I had to guess, the average salary would likely be in the $13-15 million range). There are risks on both sides of the argument. On the one hand, the Guardians are a team that should contend for the division and a long playoff run, and introducing an unknown prospect into that mix could hurt their chances or, conversely, improve those odds. On the other hand, a trade could also really improve the club's odds just as easily.
It's certainly something to monitor in the coming days and weeks. I'd expect the club to extend at least one or two players soon, so stay tuned.