Washington Nationals: Free Agent Preview Eddie Rosario
By Max Rayman
In the middle of the lockout, it is time to take a look at another free agent profile. Next up is playoff hero, Eddie Rosario.
After the trade deadline, it was expected for the Nationals offense to become a liability, but instead, the new core showed promise. From August 1 to the end of the season, the Nats offense ranked first in OBP (.348) and BB% (11.1%) and were ninth in batting average (.257).
They excelled at getting on base, but struggled at capitalizing and in the power department, ranking 16th in RBIs (252) and 21st in homers (63). Outside of Juan Soto and Josh Bell, the Nats offense didn’t have any other consistent source to drive in runs.
To fix that, the Nationals should take a look at 2021 playoff hero, Eddie Rosario. Rosario’s 2021 season was a tale of two halves. The left fielder started the season with Cleveland, but failed to replicate the success he had early in his career with Minnesota. In 78 games he slashed .254/.296/.389, with seven homers, 46 RBIs, and an OPS of .685. He was traded to the Braves at the deadline for Pablo Sandoval in what was essentially a salary dump.
With the Braves, Rosario was able to rediscover his swing, slashing .271/.330/.573, with seven homers, 16 RBIs, and an OPS of .903 in 33 games. In the playoffs, Rosario took his game to the next level. Against the Dodgers in the NLCS, Rosario slashed .560/.607/.1.040, with three homers, nine RBIs, and an OPS of 1.647. He was consequently named NLCS MVP.
With Washington, Rosario would slot into left and if the universal DH is implemented, he would be an ideal candidate. In his seven years in the Majors, Rosario averages 27 homers and 90 RBIs a year. That type of production would go a long way to speeding up Washington’s rebuild.
Defensively, Rosario is inconsistent, but has seemed to turn a corner over the past two seasons. Since 2017, he has posted -6, 10, -8, 3, and 2 DRS in left. Something to keep an eye on is Rosario’s struggles before arriving in Atlanta. With Cleveland, he posted a 0.2 fWAR compared to 0.7 with Atlanta.
Known for his power, he had a hard hit% of 35.1 and a barrel% of 4.5 with Cleveland, compared to a 37.8% and 9.8% respectively with the Braves. Washington needs pop in the lineup and cannot afford for Rosario to struggle in the power department.
Overall, Rosario is an upgrade over the Nationals’ current left-field options and wouldn’t be overly expensive. They will need to keep in mind his inconsistencies.