Having seen his role diminish from starting catcher to part-time catcher to backup/platoon first baseman over the past few seasons, Wilin Rosario is open to a trade away from the Rockies organization if it means a larger role with another team, he tells Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. “If they want to move me, I’m good with it,” Rosario said. “If it gives me a chance to play more, I’m fine with it.”
Rosario, still just 26 years of age (27 in February), hit 49 homers in his first two full big league seasons, batting .282/.314/.507 in that time. His bat took a fairly substantial step backward in 2014, however, and he’s started just 53 games this season — 45 at first base, six as a DH in interleague play and two behind the plate. He’s batted .272/.298/.421 in 2015, seeing most of his action against left-handed pitching.
While Rosario’s diminished offense played a part in his reduced role with the team, it’s his glove that really cost him his playing time. Rosario is regarded as a poor defensive backstop and rates as one of the worst pitch-framing catchers in the league. He caught opposing base-stealers at about a legaue-average rate in 2012-13, but that number dipped to 16 percent in 2014 as well. He’s also struggled blocking pitches, per Baseball Prospectus.
Rosario told Saunders that he’s not bitter toward the Rockies for the decision, but he does still think of himself as a catcher, and clearly one that can produce if given a greater role. General manager Jeff Bridich said to Saunders that he’s seen improvement in Rosario’s glove at first base, adding that it’s too soon to make any sort of determination on Rosario’s future.
If a trade is the preferred route, Bridich may have a difficult time, as the GM himself admitted in August that trade interest in Rosario was limited, at best, prior to the non-waiver trade deadline. Failing that outcome, the Rockies will have another decision to make by early December, as Rosario will be eligible for arbitration once again this winter. He took home a $2.8MM salary in his first trip through the arb process, and while his shuffling between Triple-A and the Majors this season as well as his diminished production will hinder his raise, he should still see a bump north of $3MM. It wouldn’t be an exorbitant price to pay for a platoon first baseman — especially not one that has crushed left-handed pitching at a .319/.356/.604 batting line throughout his career — but both a trade and a non-tender seem like plausible outcomes.