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Potential Twins Rosario Trade Logical

 

With the Minnesota Twins training this week for their 60-game schedule that begins in late July, it would be surprising if the front office isn’t thinking about trading left fielder Eddie Rosario for pitching help. “The wheels” are likely turning, a veteran baseball observer told Sports Headliners.

He said Rosario’s age, productive past and minimal contract, combined with high potential replacement candidates from Minnesota’s farm system, point toward the five-year veteran clearly being the most likely Twin who could be traded this summer. Rosario, who turns 29 in September, had a career season in 2019 in home runs (32) and RBI (109, sixth best in the American League).

While Rosario is in his peak years and has impressive traditional stats like a .279 lifetime batting average in the majors, other metrics are less desirable such as chasing pitches outside of the strike zone. At times observers have also questioned his hustle and fielding.

Rosario is in the final season of his contract and in 2020 is paid $7,750,000 per Spotrac.com. That’s not a lot by MLB standards for a hitter of his quality. A new deal might pay him a not so costly $13 million in 2021. That’s attractive to teams who could be looking for one more solid bat in the race for the 2020 playoffs and success in the postseason.

Minnesota’s minor league system has two hyped left field candidates to replace Rosario, if not this season, then perhaps next. Alex Kirilloff, a former first round draft choice in 2016, was ranked the 32nd best prospect in baseball by MLB.com earlier this year. Trevor Larnach, a first round selection in 2018, is also one of the most valued prospects in the Twins’ system. Both are left-handed hitters like Rosario.

In the short term, the Twins have other options in replacing Rosario. In parts of two seasons Jake Cave has impressed in the outfield and been okay with his hitting. Multi-positional veteran Marwin Gonzalez, who in 425 bats last year for the Twins drove in 55 runs, plays in the infield and outfield.

Minnesota’s 40-man roster announced earlier this week has just four left-handed pitchers. Devin Smeltzer and Rich Hill have MLB resumes both starting and relieving, while Taylor Rogers and Lewis Thorpe are bullpen specialists. The imbalance between left-handed and right-handed pitchers (four versus 18) could certainly figure into analysis for a Rosario trade.

Twins front office executives Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have multiple options in offering the attractive Rosario as trade bait. They might acquire an established pitcher of value in return for Rosario, with possibly a minor league prospect included, too. The Minnesota farm system isn’t deep in quality pitching prospects and another option could be asking for two of the better minor league pitchers from a rival franchise.

The organization certainly has incentive to further strengthen the roster of a team that won 101 games last season and added one of baseball’s best sluggers this winter in Josh Donaldson. Twins president Dave St. Peter has stated the 2020 World Series is the club’s goal.

Worth Noting

Hope the University of Minnesota takes the opportunity to recognize and celebrate the 60th anniversary of the school’s last national championship football team, the 1960 Golden Gophers.

It was welcome news for Bloomington, Minnesota native Lane Kiffin yesterday when he heard about Mississippi’s decision to remove the Confederate battle symbol from the state flag. Kiffin is the first-year head coach of the SEC’s Mississippi Rebels.

Minnehaha’s Chet Holmgren, per some authorities the No. 1 prep basketball player in the national class of 2021, lists his top seven college possibilities as Georgetown, Gonzaga, Memphis, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina and Ohio State. If things follow the norm, Minnesota and Big Ten rivals Michigan and Ohio State won’t land the athletic 7-foot Holmgren whose father, David, was a Gopher reserve from 1984-1988.

Tyus Jones

Minnesota’s elite preps usually haven’t chosen the Gophers for several years now, with Amir Coffey and Daniel Oturu being exceptions. Dawson Garcia, Matthew Hurt, Tyus and Tre Jones, Gary Trent Jr. and Kerwin Walton are among star players who decided to play elsewhere, but not for Big Ten programs. (Wisconsin is the outlier here attracting both quality and role players from Minnesota for decades, but with the Holmgren family background it’s difficult to see Chet becoming a Badger).

With Minnesota coach Richard Pitino on the hot seat, it’s probable rival recruiters will suggest it should be an easy choice to play at their programs where the future leadership is more certain.

Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph will for a second straight year be the ambassador for the 3M Open. The second-year PGA tournament will be July 23-26 at TPC Twin Cities and played without spectators. Today Rudolph will be at 3M headquarters in Maplewood helping with a tourney associated food drive.

When the Minnesota Wild play in the rescheduled Stanley Cup playoffs this summer, it will be interesting to see the development of forward Kevin Fiala who was dazzling opponents when the COVID-19 pandemic closed the NHL regular season in March. Fiala looks like a breakout star playing for interim head coach Dean Evason, whose experiences together date back to the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL.

Fiala was inconsistent in production and attitude with the Admirals. Evason, who coached the minor league Admirals for six seasons, saw a player with potential needing to mature. Fiala tied his NHL career high of 23 goals last season. In the last five games he had seven points including four goals.

Wally Langfellow, publisher of Minnesota Score magazine and also heard on Score Radio, is running for mayor of Robbinsdale. Langfellow has been covering sports in the Twin Cities since 1982.

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David Shama

David Shama is a former sports editor and columnist with local publications. His writing and reporting experiences include covering the Minnesota Vikings, Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Gophers. Shama’s career experiences also include sports marketing. He is the former Marketing Director of the Minnesota North Stars of the NHL. He is also the former Marketing Director of the United States Tennis Association’s Northern Section. A native of Minneapolis, Shama has been part of the community his entire life. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota where he majored in journalism. He also has a Master’s degree in education from the University of St. Thomas. He was a member of the Governor’s NBA’s Task Force to help create interest in bringing pro basketball to town in the 1980s.

(1) Reader Comment

  1. avatar
    Bruce Burton
    June 30, 2020 at 10:59 am

    I understand what the market is for professional baseball players, but I still find it hard to come to terms with $7,750,000 being a "minimal salary," with so many people having financial problems these days.

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