The Royals have designated left-hander Randy Rosario for assignment in order to open a spot on the active roster for outfielder Edward Olivares, who has been recalled from the alternate training site and will start tonight’s game in center field, manager Mike Matheny announced to reporters (Twitter link via Alec Lewis of The Athletic). Olivares was acquired in the trade that sent closer Trevor Rosenthal to the Padres.
Rosario, 26, was a somewhat promising bullpen prospect as he rose through the Twins’ system several years back, posting quality numbers in the upper minors before getting hit hard in a brief debut look in 2017. The new Minnesota front office took him off the 40-man roster, and upon landing with the Cubs, Rosario turned in a 3.66 ERA in 46 2/3 frames of work as a rookie in 2018. However, his 30-to-22 K/BB ratio in that time didn’t inspire much confidence, and Rosario has indeed been hit hard in subsequent seasons. Dating back to 2019, he has a 5.09 ERA in just 17 2/3 innings.
The Royals had spoken favorably of the hard-throwing Rosenthal, with GM Dayton Moore expressing a desire to keep him long-term, but the addition of Olivares to the Padres’ offer likely made it too tempting to overlook. The 24-year-old got out to a poor .176/.224/.294 start in his debut season this year, but that ugly line came in a tiny sample of just 36 plate appearances.
The overall body of work for Olivares in the minors is much more favorable, highlighted by a .283/.349/.453 showing in the Double-A Texas League last year. That production may not appear especially potent at first glance, but it was 23 percent better than that of a league-average hitter in an extremely pitcher-friendly environment, per wRC+, and Olivares adds plenty of value on the bases and in the field as well.
Beyond the 18 homers on which he connected last year, Olivares collected 25 doubles and a pair of triples while going 35-for-45 in stolen base attempts. Olivares has fanned in a relatively low 17.6 percent of his career minor league plate appearances and is considered an average or better outfielder capable of playing all three spots. At the very least, he seems capable of stepping in as a quality fourth outfielder, but the rebuilding Royals will likely give him ample opportunity to seize an everyday spot in their outfield moving forward.