Nationals ink Veteran OF Eddie Rosario to Minor-League Deal

The Nats made headlines on Wednesday morning with the signing of Eddie Rosario, but how does this impact the outlook of the 2024 team and some other roster bubble hopefuls?
Championship Series - Los Angeles Dodgers v Atlanta Braves - Game Six
Championship Series - Los Angeles Dodgers v Atlanta Braves - Game Six / Michael Zarrilli/GettyImages

There was some noteworthy news out of Nats camp in West Palm Beach yesterday morning, as it was announced that the Washington Nationals have signed OF Eddie Rosario to a minor-league contract. The 32-year-old was the NLCS MVP with the Atlanta Braves in 2021, and won a ring with the Braves that same year.

During the 2023 season with the Braves, Rosario appeared in 142 games, with a slash line of .255/.305/.450, good for a .755 OPS. Additionally, he slugged 21 homers and 74 RBI's while playing almost exclusively in left field. While Rosario has enjoyed a very solid career to this point, his most notable achievement was winning the aforementioned NLCS MVP against the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2021, where he accumulated an absurd .560/.607/1.040 and 1.647 OPS with 3 home runs, 9 RBIs. Additionally, he also tied the record for the most hits in a series in MLB postseason history with 14.

As for his fit with the 2024 Washington Nationals, he figures to slot into the lineup as the everyday man in LF, but it now puts the rest of the roster in a potential bind. With the Nats already having Joey Gallo, Lane Thomas, Victor Robles, Stone Garrett, Jesse Winker, Alex Call and Jacob Young competing for roster spots in a crowded outfield along with prospects James Wood and Dylan Crews, the Nats now have a slight logjam in the outfield.

While as of now it is purely all speculation, this move seems to signal that Stone Garrett may not quite be ready to return fully as he continues to rehab from the broken leg he suffered late last season. Besides him, with Lane Thomas already guaranteed to be the RF of this team, Joey Gallo figures to see the majority of his action at First Base, something that has already been confirmed by his usage in Spring Training as well as comments made by Mike Rizzo earlier this week. The players that potentially appear to have their spots in jeopardy moving forward are Jesse Winker, Victor Robles, Alex Call, and Jacob Young, as well as Joey Meneses if Gallo takes over First Base and the Nats opt to have more power DH for them.

If I had to make an honest prediction, I would assume Call does not make the roster, and that Winker should make the team as a DH to start, depending on the status of Garrett. It appears as if the CF job is going to come down to the wire between Young and Robles, with Robles in a make-or-break year with the only professional organization he's ever known.

Finally, as for the kids, James Wood and Dylan Crews, this signing would seem to signal that both of them will be starting the season in the minors. While it may not sit well with some fans, the reality is that there is no need to rush either of them, as neither of them have played above the AA level. Since they are arguably the two most important pieces of this rebuild, the organization likely wants to be absolutely positive that they are ready for the big leagues, and don't have to be sent back down once they get promoted to the show. This combined with the fact that the Nationals likely don't anticipate making the postseason in 2024, their arrivals could take longer than most fans are hoping for.

It appears as if the Nats will go with an outfield of Rosario/Garrett in left, Robles/Young in center, and Thomas in right. I think that Meneses and Winker will split time at DH with Garrett potentially starting the season on the IL. Once Garrett is fully healthy, it will be an interesting decision to see how the team handles it, with the kids potentially coming up after the trade deadline and the departures of Winker, Rosario, Meneses, or anyone else on a 1-year deal.

What do you think of the Eddie Rosario signing and how it impacts the 2024 roster? Please let me know on X @DCBerk.

All stats in this article provided by Baseball Reference.