Wilin Rosario: Trade for Bullpen Help?


The Wilin Rosario project is over in the Mile High City, with the Colorado Rockies designating him for assignment on November 20th.

Wilin Rosario made his MLB debut with the Colorado Rockies at the end of 2011; however, he did not accumulate enough at-bats to lose his rookie eligibility heading into the 2012 season. In Wilin Rosario’s first full season with the Colorado Rockies, he played awful defense at catcher, but his bat carried his value. Rosario was rated one of the worst defensive catchers in the game, hurting his future value with the Rockies. Despite his poor defense, he showed promise at the plate. In 2012, Wilin Rosario hit 28 home runs with 71 RBI, making him one of the most offensively productive catchers in the game. Also, he sported a .270/.312/.530 slash line.

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In 2013, the Colorado Rockies wanted to continue to develop Wilin Rosario as their catcher of the future. Upper management fell in love with his offensive production and wanted to make him work out behind the plate. However, his defense never improved, but hit bat remained a steady asset in 2013. Through 121 games in 2013, Wilin Rosario hit 21 home runs and drove in a career-high 79 RBI. Additionally, Rosario registered career-bests in batting average (.292) and on-base percentage (.315). After back-to-back solid offensive seasons, the Colorado Rockies had a chance to sell-high on the offensively-minded catcher; however, they missed their chance.

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Following solid 2012 and 2013 seasons, Wilin Rosario began to show his true colors in 2014. With his bat carrying most of his value, Rosario struggled at the dish, regressing in nearly every hitting statistic. Wilin Rosario played in just 106 games, posting career-lows (as a regular) in home runs (13), RBI (54), batting average (.267), on-base percentage (.305), and slugging (.435). Due to Rosario’s drop-off in offensive production, he now became a liability both at the plate and behind the plate. Once again, the Colorado Rockies missed their chance to trade Rosario after the season, and his value continues to drop dramatically.

Heading into the 2015 season, the Colorado Rockies decided to sign Nick Hundley to fix their defensive woes behind the plate. With Hundley becoming the everyday catcher behind the plate, this effectively ended the Wilin Rosario experiment for the Rockies. Due to Hundley’s presence, the Rockies relegated Rosario to a bench role and even sent him down to the minors in 2015. If it were not for Justin Morneau getting injured this season, Wilin Rosario likely spends most of the 2015 season in the minor leagues, because it became apparent the Rockies did no want anything to do with Rosario.

The Colorado Rockies tried to convert Wilin Rosario as a first baseman to fill the void left by Morneau; however, Rosario was just as much a liability at first base as he was at catcher, constantly making errors and not providing much help picking the ball out of the dirt. Luckily, the Rockies found use out of Ben Paulsen, who assumed the everyday role at first base. With Wilin Rosario struggling at first base, he now had no position to assume in the field and essentially became a glorified pinch hitter. 

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Thus, after the conclusion of the 2015 season, the Colorado Rockies decided to designate Wilin Rosario for assignment. The move happened on November 20th, giving the Rockies 10 days to decide what they want to do with Rosario. The move removed him from the 40-man roster to make room for prospects who were eligible for the Rule-5 draft. There are a number of options that DFA presents, and the best option for the Rockies is to trade Wilin Rosario. Rosario carries little value in the National League; however, he may make for a dangerous designated hitter in the American League.

The Colorado Rockies need to act fast if they want to get any value (if he carries any) out of Wilin Rosario. Rosario does not possess the same amount of value he did in 2012 or 2013, but the Rockies could potentially get a low-end relief pitcher out of a deal for him. The Rockies DFA’d three relief pitchers in addition to Wilin Rosario: John Axford, Tommy Kahnle, and Rex Brothers. With the Rockies cutting ties with three bullpen pitchers, they need to fill the void by trading Rosario for an arm.

Next: Colorado Rockies: Future Trade Partner with the Braves?

The Colorado Rockies likely want to replace their bullpen in-house. Both Miguel Castro and Jairo Diaz present viable options for the back-end of their bullpen, but relying on two rookies is a very risky situation. Thus, by trading Wilin Rosario, the Rockies could get some value out of their mistake and add some relief to their bullpen. If the Rockies do not get a deal done to trade Rosario soon, the team must either place him on waivers (within first seven days of designation date), release him, add him back to the 40-man roster, or outright him to the minor leagues. Wilin Rosario needs to end up in the American League if we wants to salvage him MLB career.