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Free Agent Slugger Should Stay in A.L. Central

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While with Minnesota, Eddie Rosario Has Pounded His Division Rivals

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One of the top sluggers in the American League Central, just non-tendered by Minnesota, should stay within the division. All-Star outfielder Eddie Rosario has been a key force in the middle of the Twins lineup for the past half decade, which has seen them reach the playoffs in three of the past four seasons.

Because he would likely command a huge increase in salary, as well as the emergence of young left fielder Alex Kiriloff, Minnesota's front office found Rosario expendable. Instead of issuing a qualified offer that would keep him in the lineup, the Twins chose to non-tender him and allow him to become a free agent.

There seems to be a glut of left fielders on the market, since Kyle Schwarber was non-tendered by the Chicago Cubs and Michael Brantley was granted free agency by the Houston Astros. Rosario, therefore, might not receive the lucrative contract he might have expected had the pandemic not financially strapped most clubs.

His most ardent pursuers, if they have been paying any attention to him during the twenty games he has played against each during his career, should be Minnesota's rivals in the A.L. Central. No club has been victimized by his talent more than the Indians, as evidenced by his remarkable numbers against Cleveland.

He has smoked Cleveland throughout his career, smacking 22 home runs with a .302 career batting average against the Indians. Unfortunately for both Rosario and the team he has beat up on, the Tribe has been decreasing payroll and will not be looking to pay what would be fair market price for him.

The Indians, after all, are currently in trade talks for their All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor, who has been the face of the team for the past six years. Also, Cleveland to clear payroll have traded two Cy Young Award wiiners, Cory Kluber to Texas in 2018 and Trevor Bauer to Cincinnati last year.

Central Division rival Chicago, on the other hand, has been extremely active so far this winter. They brought out of retirement Hall of Fame manager Tony Larussa, who is taking over a very talented young team that made the playoffs last year.

Rosario may not be the upgrade the White Sox are seeking, though, since he has had just limited success against them in his career. Besides, Schwarber has been a fan favorite in Chicago since he first suited up for the Cubs, so he might be a more desirable acquisition for the South Siders than Rosario

The Royals, against whom Rosario has had moderate success, need to fill the left field spot vacated after Alex Gordon's retirement. Kansas City has already been active this winter, signing free agent lefthander Mike Minor to bolster the pitching staff, in a clear sign that it is looking to improve.

Like Gordon, Rosario is a lefthanded batter, the only such one in the regular lineup besides second baseman Nicky Lopez. The similarities with Gordon pretty much end there, for Rosario has throughout his career been a much better hitter than Gordon.

Rosario has averaged 28 home runs per season, while Gordon mustered just 18. The Minnesota product has also considerably outhit Gordon, sustaining a .277 batting average compared to the .255 clip of the veteran Kansas City outfielder.

Signing Rosario will likely cost Kansas City more than the 4 million they paid Gordon last year, but it should come to less than the 10 million the former made with the Twins. The extra expense to the payroll would be well worth it, when you think about a Kansas City outfield comprised of Whit Merrifield, and young Bubba Starling.