Another day and another shortstop option seems to be out there in the minds of the Cincinnati Reds. We’re less than one month away from the first game of spring training and Cincinnati still hasn’t accomplished their one stated goal this offseason: Finding a shortstop. With the free agent market down to Didi Gregorius and a bunch of guys who aren’t upgrades or need to have a significant rebound to be an upgrade, the trade market could be a viable option. One player that’s potentially out there is someone who has already been traded this offseason – Amed Rosario.

Mike Puma of The New York Post noted this morning that the Reds have been discussing whether or not Rosario makes sense or not. There’s a lot going on here, so let’s try to dive in. Amed Rosario will be 25-years-old in the 2021 season and he’s played in parts of four years in the big leagues. He’s a career .268/.302/.403 hitter, with a career OPS+ of 91. He’s been a well below-average hitter in three of those four seasons, with the 2019 campaign being his lone above-average season at the plate and it came by the thinnest of margins when he posted a 101 OPS+ for the Mets.

Cleveland acquired Amed Rosario in the deal with New York that sent Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco to the Mets three weeks ago. If the question the Reds front office is asking is should they try to acquire him, shouldn’t our question be why they don’t already know that answer? Cleveland clearly wasn’t all that interested in acquiring him in the deal with the Mets if they are going to turn around and trade him three weeks later, which means he was going to be available to anyone else once the Mets had things lined up for Lindor. This discussion should have already happened. And perhaps it did and the tweet from Puma was simply worded poorly.

Let’s talk a bit about what Amed Rosario brings to the table. Offensively, he hasn’t exactly performed much as a professional, even in the minors. To be fair, he was always incredibly young for the level he was playing at while in the minors – he debuted at 21 with the Mets – but his OPS by season in the minors were .637, .691, .631, .833, and then .833. He was trending upwards as he reached the big leagues, but then went back to an OPS in the 600’s for three of the next four years.

When he was in the minor leagues he was viewed as an elite level prospect. Heading into 2017 he was rated as the 8th overall prospect in all of baseball according to Baseball America. At the time scouting reports noted a strong ability to hit, but only fringy power potential. Defensively he stood out for his athleticism, good hands, and a strong arm at the shortstop position.

That scouting report hasn’t quite translated to the big league field. Not yet at least. Defensive metrics are a bit sketchy and not entirely reliable, but Baseball Reference has his defensive WAR at -1.8 for his career so far, with no season in the big leagues having a positive defensive WAR. Fangraphs defensive values see things a bit differently. In his career, his UZR is at -1.5, but he’s had two positive value seasons with the glove and two negative value seasons with the glove. This is where you really want to lean on what your scouts see, giving you a better feel of exactly where he falls on the defensive spectrum.

At the plate, we covered a little bit of that above, but let’s take a little bit deeper of a dive. In 2019 he had 30 doubles, 7 triples, and 15 home runs in 157 games for the Mets. That’s a solid amount of power for a shortstop. Where he’s struggled the most, though, is getting on base. Amed Rosario’s career on-base percentage is just .302 and it’s that low because he rarely walks. In 403 career games he has 67 walks. Among the 260 players since 2017 began who have at least 1000 plate appearances there are only nine players in baseball with a lower walk rate than Rosario, including form Reds Jose Iglesias and Jose Peraza.

There’s upside with Amed Rosario. He’s at an age where you should still expect some offensive improvements to come. But he’s also got a a glaring weakness in his offensive profile – he swings at a lot of bad pitches (he chases pitches out of the zone 40.2% of the time for his career – league average during this period is 30%). In some ways, his profile sounds similar to former Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips – big time prospect who didn’t quite put everything together, more known for his defense at age 25 than for his offense, with a low walk rate but some offensive tools to work with.

Unlike the acquisition of Brandon Phillips, the cost will likely be far higher for Amed Rosario, who has been better in the Major Leagues than Phillips had when he was acquired. Because of that, and his service time, he’s also going to cost more money. Rosario is owed $2,400,000 in 2021, and he’s under team control through the 2023 season. He’ll be arbitration eligible in both 2022 and 2023.

88 Responses

  1. Russell Proctor

    This has to be a joke. A terrible hitter with a negative defensive WAR….why would you EVER trade for him????

  2. RedAlert

    No thanks !!!! Ridiculous it’s even being considered by the pathetic front office of this organization . What a joke !
    No surprise though – totally expected this from the get go. Bunch of lip service …

    • Hotto4Votto

      I don’t mind them considering it. They absolutely need to find a SS and can’t rule out anything offhand. I just hope they come to the quick conclusion that Rosario isn’t what they need. Then they can move onto targets that may actually help the Reds.

      • TheCoastMan

        Yea, but what are you willing to give up? Especially when you have someone you are confident only needs another year of minor league seasoning. Is Rosario going to significantly out perform Galvis, Farmer or Blandino? Galvis signed for peanuts. Why didn’t we just bring him back? I’m feeling sick to my stomach thinking about what Cleveland is going to fleece us out of.

      • Hotto4Votto

        I wouldn’t give up a top 20 prospect for him. I actually prefer the Reds to look elsewhere. I was just commenting on the fact that they should leave no stone unturned.
        I get that sick feeling. Nothing about this offseason has been uplifting.

  3. Justin

    Can someone share some insight as to why Kyle Farmer seems to get no consideration from the Reds to start SS, but they consider sending away a player for him and taking on another $2.5 million?

    Have the Reds stated anything about Farmer negatively?

    • Jake

      His OPS+ each year in the MLB (100 is average):

      Granted that’s over like 330 at-bats total, but still…he hasn’t shown he can hit.

      • Earmbrister

        Cubano, Farmer is 30 years old while Senzel is 25. Farmer has consistently been a weak bat (by OPS+ standards) over 4 seasons, while Senzel was weak over a very small sample size of 78 PAs in ‘20. Senzel is a much better hitter.

  4. LDS

    At this point doing anything would be a forward step. But given their history, they’ll give away the farm for a guy that might not turn out to be any better than Galvis.

    • RojoBenjy

      Not sure just doing anything is forward. At some point you can’t do worse that what they have. Alfredo Rodriguez is in the system and could at least play defense!

      • shaggy

        this is the same thing I’ve been saying, defensively he knows what he is doing. and he can at least hit above 240. Why doesn’t he get the chance to at least be farmers backup and play a few days a week.

  5. Dan

    What about Andres Gimenez? He was the other young SS sent from the Mets to Cleveland in that trade.

    His numbers look a bit better than Rosario’s so far (VERY small sample), including a bit more OBP, which the Reds desperately need.

    From the little reading that I’ve done, it sounds like Gimenez is considered a better prospect than Rosario at this point.

    (Hard to get excited about Rosario’s OBP’s at the MLB level – .271, .295, .323, and .272.)

    I wonder if Cleveland would consider keeping Rosario, and trading Gimenez.

    • Doc

      So, you are assuming Cleveland is stupid? Trade away an all start SS for a package, including two SS, and keep the worse of the two? That sounds like a brilliant move.

      • Dan

        Just asking a question! No need to get huffy. 😉

      • Dan

        Also, obviously, the Reds would need to give up a little more to get the more highly regarded player (Gimenez). I didn’t think I needed to make that explicit, but apparently I do…

      • Stock

        he is assuming Cleveland started a rebuild when they traded away Kluber, Bauer, Carrasco and Lindor the last year or so and therefore trading Gimenez. I think that is a good thought Dan. I would be disappointed if the Reds traded for Rosario. But Gimenez is worth pursuing.

        Cleveland is projected to finish well behind both the White Sox and the Twins and should consider trading Gimenez. Good job Dan

  6. 3rdbaseTom

    Wow! Someone who strikes out a lot by swinging at bad pitches. Now that sounds like
    several we already have. That’s not an upgrade.

  7. Rut

    If the Reds can’t get Jose Peraza back, might as well go with the poor man’s version of him.

    As I mentioned before, Villar or similar is where this is ending. Folks are in a Didi pipe dream to realistically think otherwise…

    • JayTheRed

      You know looking at Villar’s numbers I would be ok with it if it’s for only a single season. I could deal with it. It’s better than anything else that is being proposed currently. I too think it’s wishful thinking to get Didi. Why would he want to come here, when he could play for Philly again.

  8. Daytonnati

    Interesting article in The Athletic today (behind a paywall) on their Top 100 MLB prospects The Reds have Hunter Greene at #21, Jonathan India at #88, and Nick Lodolo at #100.

    • RojoBenjy

      Looking at you, Baseball America. Very suspect list of theirs this year without Greene on it

  9. docproc

    Hard pass on Rosario.
    5-to-1 K to BB ratio.
    Low OBP/OPS.
    Negative dWAR.
    Coming into arb-eligible years.
    What’s to like? Nothing.

  10. AllTheHype

    Rosario’s splits indicate he suffered from hitting in the 4th worst hitter friendly park, Citi Field. His home slash was .225/.266/.341 while is away slash was .306/.334/.457

    That is a huge disparity and indicates significant upside possible. Depending on what they have to give up, I’d love to see this move happen.

    • jbonireland

      All the hype, don’t point out something that makes the most sence to most on this board. Everything management does is wrong. Most on this board can’t understand that it takes two to make a deal. I am sure the Reds have been in on the discussion for every shortstop available. Money wise there is no way I would pay $18 mil for one year of Semien nor 30 mil for two years of Didi. Simmons at $10 mil was a loss from my perspective however you can’t force a player to come to Cincinnati if he doesn’t want to!
      As for Villar he is more of a second basemen or center fielder than a shortstop.

      • Mike V

        agreed .. Rosario is a legit alternative .. What makes everyone think otherwise? He should be relatively cheap. He is only 25 and has an upside . At this point there is no real reason to think Garcia will be better than Rosario in a year or two . I would try him before Villar , or Galvis or 18 Million for one year of Didi ..

  11. TR#1

    He won’t cost that much in terms of prospects and if he does then no way. Indians really only wanted Gimenez. May be worth a flier as we aren’t paying $13-$15 million a year for Didi. Again not my money, but if I was GM, then Didi just too much w/o knowing when fans can fully attend. Although wonder if max is 10-15k, then how often Reds would have exceeded that anyways

  12. Nephi

    From what I have read recently regarding the SS situation my thinking is to stay pat if the Reds aren’t successful or don’t want to chase DD. The in house options are better then anyone else apart from DD and giving up prospects for what you already have for someone that maybe only be marginally better doesn’t make sense.

  13. ClevelandRedsFan

    Someone in MLB made a trade for a Major League Ready, glove first shortstop and the Reds just can’t help themselves.

    Hard pass.

    Roll out Blandino/Farmer instead of giving up prospect capital.

  14. CI3J

    Now THIS sounds like something the Reds would actually do. I wasn’t convinced they’d actually go all that hard after any of the FA shortstops, despite the lip service. So now let’s give up some assets to acquire a below-average player who isn’t really an upgrade.

    Sounds about right.

  15. LDS

    The MLB story just posted listed Rosario, Newman, Goodrum, with a Story longshot as possible trade candidates. I’m not really seeing how the 1st 3 move the team forward much. As for Story, I just don’t see the Reds putting up the money.

    • Rob

      In re: to a Story trade, you certainly could move some salary as part of the trade. I would think the Rockies could be enticed with young, low cost experience + a top 5 prospect. Remember this is only one year of Story but fits the Garcia narrative. Maybe something like Wink and Santillian? Come mid season Story is going to be worth about 1/2 of that. Think I would make the call and at least find the asking price.

  16. Bill J

    This should be a worry for the Reds if these evaluators are that wrong on Rosario, what about the evaluations on Reds players.

  17. Chris Holbert

    Might as well go with Garcia, and let him grow into the roll offensively, at least his defense should be MLB ready….the Rosario option does not provide that much improvement over him

    • Dan

      But getting SOMEONE to hold down the spot for the next year or two would allow Garcia to develop at a more natural pace, rather than being thrown to the wolves before he is ready. He clearly needs some time in AA and maybe AAA. If he is allowed to develop at his own pace, I think there’s a better chance he’ll make the most of his talent.

  18. Stock

    Best options:

    1. Marte in a trade with AZ
    2. Didi at a reasonable price
    3. Mondesi in a trade with KC
    4. Ahmed in a trade with AZ
    5. Gimenez in a trade with CLE
    6. Didi in a slight over pay
    7. Farmer/Senzel and other internal options.

    • BK

      Solid list of options. I would add Adames from Tampa Bay. The cost would be steep and the Rays would have to be sold that Wander Franco is ready. But the Rays are loaded at SS in the minors, so I think it’s plausible.

      Alternatively, Vidal Brujan and Taylor Walls are also in their system and had time at AA. If the Red’s scouts perceived either as more ready than Garcia, they could be less costly trade acquisitions than many of the others. Bottom-line: there are still some good options, Krall should include the Rays on his call list.

  19. TR

    After getting zero runs in last years two playoff games, the Reds need offense so they should make a final offer to Didi. If he doesn’t take it, then make internal moves with Suarez to shortstop, Moustakas to third, Senzel to second and Akiyama the regular in centerfield. Give Garcia this coming year to zero in on ML hitting. If it doesn’t work, then spend and/or trade big in the offseason for a shortstop combining defensive and offensive skills.

    • Damon

      Now that’s not a scenario that’s been considered. I kinda like that a lot actually.

  20. steve

    Suarez playing SS sailed 4 years and 40 pounds ago…….

  21. DataDumpster

    I think they found their man. Although not very impressive, he fits the Red’s profile for acquisitions this year; inexpensive, fallen angel type career, and someone our coaching staff can fix. Well, our pitching coaches probably can get a few good results out of the squadron of new hires but our hitting coaches haven’t been given much opportunity (for good reason). But, after the 22 inning scoreless playoff, I have a quote indicating an attempt to put a good spin on the hitting stats last year.

    “You know, I think, No. 1, we emphasized strike zone discipline,” manager David Bell said. “We were able to walk quite a bit, more than we singled, which is amazing.” Looks like the perfect patient to be worked on for David Bell to continue doing the amazing (although I would countenance that the number of singles needs to be increased for success. Duh.)

  22. Jim M.

    a trade for Mondesi would be good.. he has alot of speed and be our leadoff hitter.. Ahmad too isnt bad.. but the guy the Mets shipped to Cleveland Rosario ,strikes out to much.. We dont need that..

    • doofus

      I proposed a trade for Mondesi weeks ago. Some of you smirked at the deal in your response, including someone who now posits a trade for Mondesi. Go figure.

    • doofus

      As a hitter, Mondesi is a similar to Rosario. Mondesi is a switch hitter; Rosario bats right-handed. They both are solid defenders. Mondesi is a base stealer that the Reds have not seen since Eric Davis.

      I would work a deal for Mondesi, but I do not have faith that Krall can do that.

      • IndyRedsFan

        If KC doesn’t want to trade him, then NOBODY can do that.

      • VaRedsFan

        Cardinals get Arrenado, for Gomber, 9, 13, 23 ranked prospects….Cardinals also get 50 million in cash.

  23. Bill Harris

    The Reds are cutting payroll. I think they should stay in house and give Farmer a chance, if they think the young guy will be ready in a year or two, then Farmer can go back to the utility roll. Bandino can play the utility roll this year. TheReds are so busy looking for a steal deal that the can’t see what they may have in the organization.

    • Earmbrister

      Farmer has never hit and he’s now 30 years old. I think he is what he is, which is a very light hitting utility man with questionable range. Garcia was totally over matched at the plate last year albeit in a small sample size. I think his OPS+ was something like 7. Yes, single digit. He needs a year or two to work on his hitting. There are no clear in-house answers at shortstop, hence the months long conversation thereon.

      I’m OK with a lottery ticket like Rosario, who at least has played the position for multiple seasons in MLB. He’s young enough that there is still a bit of upside. Frankly, I’d rather have Rosario at a cost than Galvis as a FA. We need to turn the page at shortstop.

  24. west larry

    It seems that the reds are rumored to be in on every shortstop with two legs. I don’t know if these rumors are being generated by the reds or the media, but I’ve gotten to the point that I don’t believe any of these rumors. Where’s the beef?

    • Hotto4Votto

      Don’t put it past the Reds to consider shortstops with only 1 leg if they come at the right price.

      • Jimbo44CN

        Humor is the best medicine, especially when it comes to the Reds front office.

  25. Hotto4Votto

    The Reds absolutely have to find a SS, but I don’t think Rosario is the answer. Too many questions on both defense and offense, and unlikely to figure it out next season, when we’ll rely on him. After that, Garcia may be close enough. Keep trying to sign Didi and leave no stone unturned with other trades.

    • Grand Salami

      He’s now a 2nd base prospect. Tough for a named after a SS

      • RojoBenjy

        So that loss doesn’t hurt at all. Reds got plenty of 2B.

  26. Redsvol

    sheesh, got to love minor league prospects lists. #8 ranked prospect in all of baseball 3 years ago and now no-one on this site would trade our 20th best prospect for him. And supposedly the Reds prospects are the worst group in all of baseball.

    • David

      Yeah, you noticed that too? Funny how that works.

  27. LDS

    A lot of optimism on Garcia but thus far he hasn’t shown he can hit. Hope he develops but not a realistic expectation for 2021. Bell’s affinity for players that can play all over the field likely means that the Reds sign a cheap, but mediocre utility infielder and 2021 like 2020 will again disappoint fans. My opinion too negative? No, too experienced.

    • DaveCT

      In Garcia’s last season where he was at a level appropriate for his stage of development, as well as the AZ Fall League, he hit just fine. Especially at Daytona, a pitchers league. He just needs development time.

  28. Redhaze

    Sign Jonathan Villar until Garcia is ready.

    • JayTheRed

      I’m with you on this one. It’s really not a bad option at this point and he is only 30.

  29. Steven Ross

    Maybe Kurt Stillwell is still available?

  30. CFD3000

    I’d rather see Blandino at SS than Rosario.

    I’m not impressed by Rosario’s offense or defense to date. The Reds already have a better glove in the system (AlfRod), and at least an equivalent all around player in Blandino. There’s no need to trade anything of value for Rosario. And I agree with other commenters that while the Reds coaching staff may be able to work wonders with promising but inconsistent young pitchers, the same is not true of hitters. There are literally zero examples of struggling hitters blossoming in Cincinnati recently. No thanks on Rosario.

  31. LDS

    I see this morning that the NL Central is starting to move. The Cubs signed Pederson. The Cards are talking to Colorado about Arenado. The Reds? Still crickets. I guess they haven’t found a option mediocre enough to fit their plans. As Chad Dotson tweeted: “Bob Castellini does not care about you, Reds fans. The sooner you understand that, the better.” Yep.

    • Jon

      It’s an absolute joke. It’s pretty obvious Gregorius doesn’t want to play for Cincinnati. He passed on them last winter as well. Why play for a team that’s dumping serviceable players to cut salary when you can sign with the Phillies, who just re-signed Realmuto? The fact that the Reds had to overpay Castellanos and Moustakas last winter to sign here (in a hitters’ park) shows what free agents think about this team/ownership group. There were already rumors this offseason that the Reds were shopping Castellanos and Moustakas. Why sign with a team that may well dangle you in trade talks as soon as July or next winter?

      • LDS

        Couldn’t agree more. Or play for a field manager that thinks all players are fungible. Just plug and play. Nope, the Reds have a dim future unless something changes soon.

  32. MBS

    The only Rosario I’m interested in is Rosario Dawson. The Reds hopefully wouldn’t trade anything significant for him.

    • LDS

      Can she play SS? Certainly, she’d bring in fans.

  33. Daytonian

    Blandino can capably handle the position this year–until the next generation is ready with his bat.

    • Jon

      If that’s the case, you might as well forget about contending in 2021.

      • Chris Holbert

        I always heard and read that Blandino did not have the range or arm for SS…if he does, why have there been so many questions about SS in the organization, for the past couple years

  34. LDS

    I see the Cubs are looking for pitching. Send them Gray for Baez – roughly net 0 effect on payrolls of both teams. Problem solved. Hate to lose Gray but the Reds have better pitching prospects than they do shortstop.

    • greenmtred

      But wouldn’t that trade just fix one weakness by creating another? They’ve already lost Bauer. Losing Gray would guarantee that the pitching would be mediocre at best.

      • LDS

        Reds are likely toast for 2021 anyway.

  35. Jon

    Let’s move Suarez to ss. Moose to 3b and senzel to 2b

  36. Gonzo Reds

    Now that Cards have traded for Arenado the whole no one in the division is trying to win narrative is gone. We now need to make a big trade like for Story to compete with them.

  37. MBS

    Ok everyone will say he can’t, and maybe he won’t be good, but Senzel at SS. Rodriguez as the Defensive replacement innings 8 and 9. Senzel is a better fielder than Moose, and probably Suarez. So Senzel could slide over to 2B or 3B depending on who’s less likely to come up to bat again in the game. I am just wanting to get the most offense we can.

  38. LDS

    Ok, as expected Didi has resigned with the Phillies, i.e., he didn’t want to play for the Reds (who does). So I suspect SS is going to be really mediocre this year and Cards win the division going away.

    • Roger Garrett

      LDS,Yep and Yep to your comments.Have to overpay(see Moose) or do the unthinkable(see Castellanos and his 2 opt out years) to get anybody to come here right now.Losing culture has to be changed and it starts at the top of the organization and untill that happens well it is what it is.One would think very hitter would want to come and hit in GABP just to pad those stats and move on to a bigger and better pay day somewhere else(again see Castellanos) but they don’t and we know why.

    • Jimbo44CN

      I hate the Cardinals but have to admit they have their stuff together. That Arenado trade looks like a steal for them. Geez, why couldn’t we do something like that?

  39. Daytonian

    Now that Didi is back with the Phil’s, it’s time to turn the position over to Blandino and wait patiently for Garcia’s bat to come around. Or g set t Villar and hope that he can cover the position.