About keeping Wilin Rosario, about playing him at first base

It appears that the Colorado Rockies are likely to keep Wilin Rosario and give him some playing time at first base. What follows is an attempt to think through and even analyze that situation.

I pose the following question as somebody who has advocated for the Rockies to trade Wilin Rosario since the middle of the 2014 season: is there a chance that it would prove to be a hasty decision for Jeff Bridich and the Rockies to trade Rosario?

Fast forward to the early months of the hypothetical 2015 season after Rosario is traded. Imagine the dismay from Rockies’ fans on Twitter in that hypothetical scenario if Rosario were to go play well for another team.

“Oh great. Wilin Rosario already has 10 home runs. SO GLAD THE ROCKIES GAVE UP ON HIM.”

We fans are revisionist historians, after all, and would be inclined to forget our own cries for the team to trade him. Can’t you imagine that scenario playing out?

Wilin Rosario is an imperfect player. He is an awful defensive catcher. He probably doesn’t fit on the Rockies’ roster or on any National League roster for that matter. Even having said all of that, there are some things worth remembering:

  • The guy is still just 25 years old
  • He brings legit right-handed power, as in, he might be the most powerful dude on the roster, period
  • As recently as 2013, when he was also a terrible defensive catcher, he was still a 2.1 fWAR player

Flawed though he is because of his defensive shortcomings, Rosario still offers tremendous upside because of his bat. Let’s remember that the Rockies spent years planning on Rosario as the next big thing in the organization, sticking their nose up at any trade discussions that involved the ‘Baby Bull’ and eventually sending Chris Iannetta to the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for Tyler Chatwood.

Even if Wilin Rosario’s atrocious defense has not improved as much as the organization was hoping, he still has significant upside. If the Rockies are not going to get value that reflects that upside in a trade this off-season, maybe it makes sense to keep him.

I’m still not sold on the team going that route, but I am starting to see the point.

If the Rockies do keep him, however, they need to change how they use him and they need to get more creative about maximizing his skill set. Along those lines, Bridich made it sound like the team will use Rosario some at first base this season.

One presumes, then, that the Rockies might look to trade Rosario mid-season if his value spiked and a deal started to “make sense,” as Bridich put it.

Go ahead, ask me how I feel about Rosario seeing playing time at first base.

That said, I am open to the idea of the Rockies finding ways to get Rosario at-bats in the right spots, both to take advantage of his power and to perhaps enhance his trade value.

If the Rockies are going to keep Wilin Rosario, which it sounds like they will, then they need to play him some at first base.