The Minnesota Twins placed Eddie Rosario on outright waivers on Tuesday night in a move that could signal the end of his tenure with the team.
According to The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal, the Twins made the move as part of the process to non-tender Rosario by giving teams a chance to claim his $9.6 million salary for 2021. If no team claims Rosario, he will become a free agent.
Rosario has been a staple of the Twins lineup since his debut in 2015 and becoming the full-time starter in left field the following season. Over six seasons in Minnesota, Rosario hit .277 with 119 HR and 388 RBI, but often was one of the most mercurial players on the team.
The 29-year-old was a prominent run producer, posting career-highs in home runs (32) and RBI (109) in 2019, but also swung at 46.3% of pitches outside the strike zone per FanGraphs.
That trend continued in 2020 as Rosario swung at 42.6% of pitches outside the zone and saw the second-lowest OPS (.792) of his career since 2016 (.716).
With Rosario struggling defensively by ranking 82nd among outfielders in Baseball Savant's outs above average metric, the Twins seemed to be a lock to move on from him this offseason. The question is why the Twins wouldn't try to get something for Rosario if they were going to get rid of him.
The Athletic's Aaron Gleeman reported that the Twins have tried to deal Rosario in each of the past two offseasons, but haven't found a suitor. The Twins were rumored to be in talks with the Miami Marlins last offseason but no deal came to fruition.
Rosenthal also echoed Gleeman's sentiments as to why the Twins wouldn't try to deal Rosario.
With Rosario soon to be out of the fold, the Twins will turn to their minor league system which is stocked with outfield talent. Brent Rooker (.316, 1 HR, 5 RBI) had a solid debut with the Twins until breaking his forearm last season but this ultimately could pave the way for top prospect Alex Kiriloff.
The 23-year-old made his major league debut in the Wild Card Series against the Houston Astros last October but has terrorized his way through the organization after being the Twins first-round pick in 2016 (15th overall).
Whoever replaces Rosario is to be determined but it already appears the Twins will have a much different look in 2021.