Trade Candidate: Wilin Rosario


Jul 3, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies catcher Wilin Rosario (20) tags out Los Angeles Dodgers pinch hitter Andre Either (16) during the ninth inning at Coors Field. The Dodgers won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

As the season begins, we are profiling some potential candidates the Rockies may trade this summer. Today’s focus: catcher-turned-first-baseman-turned-maybe-right-fielder Wilin Rosario.

There’s no doubt Wilin Rosario can hit the ball. He’s got power and hits for a decent enough average (well, for a catcher) that he made himself into one of the best offensive threats among catchers in the big leagues the last few seasons.

But his defense is very poor, and the Rockies have finally decided to move him away from the plate, as shown by their decision to sign Nick Hundley in the offseason and retain Michael McKenry.

The contract.

Rosario went through arbitration this winter, and will earn $2.8 million with the Rockies for 2015, eligible again for arbitration after the year. Obviously, considering his power, $2.8 million is kind of a bargain, but considering the struggle the Rockies will have finding a place to play him now that catching is no longer an option, his roster status suddenly becomes more muddied.

The history.

Rosario got to the big leagues as a 22 year old, and is a veteran of essentially three full Major League seasons after his cup of coffee in 2011. He’s only ever known the Rockies organization, after being signed by the team as an amateur free agent in 2006 out of the Dominican Republic. He finished fourth in Rookie of the Year voting in 2012.

The tenure.

Rosario’s had a lot of success hitting the ball the last three years, and with a career .274/.308/.483 slash line and 65 home runs and 69 doubles in 1,359 plate appearances, he certainly has a Major League quality bat.

His glove, though, is a problem, and he grades poorly in virtually every defensive metric behind the plate. It’s tough enough to pitch in Denver with a good defensive catcher; make that virtually impossible with one who’s in over his head calling games and framing pitches.

The angle.

Rosario is a great hitter without a position, at least in Colorado. The Rockies floated him to the Rangers and some other clubs this winter, but nothing ever came of it, and they probably should’ve pushed a little harder to get a deal done.

The club has guys at first base, left field, and right field, so there’s no conceivable place to stick Rosario without taking the bat out of the hands of Corey Dickerson, Carlos Gonzalez, or Justin Morneau on a regular basis. And assuming those guys might all be healthy and decent enough, that’d be a bad idea.

Rosario is expendable, and he has value in his bat and what he can do offensively for a team. You think it’d be a no-brainer to have moved him already, but, here we are.

The replacement.

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The replacements, of course, make Rosario even more expendable, if only because they are already with the club.

McKenry and Hundley will do the catching, Morneau will continue to play first base (just like he was going to, anyways), Gonzalez will continue to play right field (just like he was going to, anyways), and Dickerson will continue to play left field (just like he was going to, anyways).

Yeah. It’s (been) time to trade Rosario.