The Colorado Rockies Will Trade Wilin Rosario This Winter… Right?
May 14, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Colorado Rockies first baseman W. Rosario (20) reaches for the ball and tags Los Angeles Dodgers left fielder S. Van Slyke (33) out at first base in the third inning at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
After nearly a calendar year of speculation, there’s no way the Colorado Rockies keep their back-up third string catcher/first baseman/whatever any longer… right?
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The Colorado Rockies are going to actually realize Wilin Rosario isn’t a fit on their 25-man roster and trade him away this winter… right?
No offense to Wilin — and this isn’t the time to figure which teams might fit for a designated hitter/sometimes-first baseman/sometimes-catcher — but let’s look at this from the broadest sense: Ben Paulsen has earned the first base job.
I can’t imagine Justin Morneau returning to the Rockies next year, considering the health problems he’s endured and his age. He’s got a mutual contract option for 2016 that the Colorado Rockies would be wise to decline. Paulsen, on the other hand, is cheap and controllable off the field, and he’s controlled traffic well enough at first base this year as the Rockies’ primary starter.
Slashing .284/.336/.480 in 251 plate appearances is enough of a sample for the Colorado Rockies to have an idea about Paulsen’s future — at least in the short-term — as an every day first baseman. Couple that with his red-hot 2014 (.317/.348/.541 in a much smaller sample size, just 66 plate appearances), and the Rockies have a decent player on their hands.
He’s not an All Star, and he’s certainly not a first baseman the quality of Morneau or Todd Helton who preceded him, but Paulsen also will be paid a pittance in exchange for an .816 OPS and .998 fielding percentage that can realistically continue at a similar pace over 150 games.
Like most players, Paulsen doesn’t do as well on same-handed pitchers, but even his numbers against lefties don’t fall off the table so badly (.253/.271/.581, granted in a small sample size) that he couldn’t play virtually every day at first base. And besides, that’s what Kyle Parker, Matt McBride, or insert-other-platoon-backup-here can remedy on occasion.
Rosario, too, has played himself into an interesting trade position. Sure, suitors are limited to primarily the American League, since few teams will want Rosario at first base and there’s no reason why anybody would call on him to catch. But in limited duty, Rosario has had a decent season at the plate in Denver, and he’s torn up the Pacific Coast League during the periods he’s been in AAA Albuquerque.
Basically, it comes down to this: Rosario has such power at the plate that he’s a valuable(ish) trade commodity. He’s far more valuable to other teams than McBride or Parker. And he’s more valuable to trade than Paulsen would be, considering the Rockies would be wise to prefer Paulsen at first base rather than give him away to make everyday room for Rosario’s iffy glove.
Then again, we’ve all been discussing the Colorado Rockies and Rosario’s trade candidacy for months. And knowing how that’s gone…