On Wednesday, the Minnesota Twins will need to decide whether or not they’ll tender a contract to left fielder Eddie Rosario for the 2021 Major League Baseball season. A 4th round pick in 2010, he’s been in the organization for a decade since he was a 19-year-old. A changing of the guard could be coming involving a core player, and it’s worth looking back on the impact he’s had.
Rosario was selected out of high school in Puerto Rico as a second basemen, and he stuck there pretty regularly through his first four professional seasons. At that point it was determined his arm was an underutilized asset, and his glove on the dirt simply wasn’t going to get the job done. By 2012 he’d cracked a top 100 prospect list (Baseball Prospectus) and prior to 2014 he landed 60th from the same publication.
It was in 2014 that adversity caught up with Rosario a bit as he received a 50-game suspension for a drug of abuse. This was something that there had been rumblings about for some time but was brought to the forefront through the failed test. A maturation process was going to be necessary, and it was one that ultimately took place leading to a Major League debut in 2015.
To this point the Twins have had Rosario play in 697 career games with a .277/.310/.478 slash line. His last four seasons have amounted to an .810 OPS and some of the breakout power potential that was expected from him. He contributed 32 dingers to the 2019 Bomba Squad’s tally, and despite lacking any real on-base presence, remained a run producer at the plate.
In the outfield there’s been flashes of brilliance from a guy with such a strong right arm. Putting up gaudy DRS numbers on somewhat of a scattered basis, injury and an inconsistent motor are the only things that have held him back from entering elite territory when in the field. Any given night can result in Twitter faithful providing reminders not to run on his rocket arm, and that ability should carry well into his 30’s.
Should Minnesota decide to non-tender their home-grown outfielder it won’t be due to lack of talent. The OPS hovering around .800 is a strong number, but an arbitration figure teetering on $10 million is quite a lot for a player that has replaceable qualities and is battling with internal talent expected to be as good or better.
There should be no shock if Rosario goes elsewhere and flourishes. He did well with former Twins hitting coach James Rowson, and a mutual fit in Miami could make sense for a plethora of reasons. Rosario was among the prospects Twins fans waited on for years, and he’s parlayed that into six years of production that will be missed should his time be up.
No matter what happens, Minnesota’s hot stove gets cooking forcibly sooner rather than later.