The Minnesota Twins non-tendered Eddie Rosario last Wednesday. It took all of a day for the free-agent outfielder to be linked to the Red Sox.
Rosario, 29, hails from Puerto Rico and is close with Sox manager Alex Cora, who served as Rosario’s general manager for Team Puerto Rico during the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
Because he was projected by MLB Trade Rumors to earn approximately $9.6 million in his third and final year of arbitration eligibility in 2021, Rosario was ultimately let go by Minnesota, thus making him a free agent earlier than expected.
Having finished in the top-20 in American League MVP voting each of the last two seasons, Rosario being cut came as somewhat of a surprise. The former fourth-round draft pick had just put the finishing touches on a 2020 campaign in which he slashed .257/.316/.476 with 13 home runs and 42 RBI over 57 games and 231 plate appearances. That’s good for an OPS+ of 115 and a wRC+ of 110.
Cora was one of those in the game who were caught off guard by the Twins’ decision to let Rosario go. He said as much when speaking to Puerto Rican newspaper El Nuevo Dia earlier Monday afternoon.
“As a friend, I was surprised by what happened to Eddie last week,” Cora said (in Spanish). “As a baseball man, we will see what happens in the future. Eddie is a complete player, who still has room to keep improving. Everyone knows how talented he is.”
Talented as the left-handed hitting Rosario may be, his fit within the Red Sox’ roster does not exactly line up at the moment. That is the case because Boston already has two left-handed hitting outfielders — Andrew Benintendi and Alex Verdugo — on their major-league roster.
On top of that, Rosario is best suited for a corner outfield position defensively, more so left field if he were to regularly play at Fenway Park, meaning one of Benintendi or Verdugo would have to make a move to center or be traded in order to accommodate Rosario.
So, as of now, the odds of a Rosario-Cora reunion of sorts happening seems low, especially when you consider what the Sox should be prioritizing this offseason: starting pitching and bullpen help.
That said, if the opportunity arises and there is a way Rosario would fit on this roster, it would not be surprising to see Boston explore that avenue at some point this winter.
“What we are going to do for everything we do is be smart and opportunistic,” Cora said of his team’s offseason approach. “And this market is perfect for being opportunistic.”