RED SOX INSIDER

Tomase: The night the Red Sox fell in love with Eddie Rosario

RED SOX INSIDER

The knock on Eddie Rosario is his glove, a particular liability in a launch-angle obsessed era that puts a premium on outfield defense.

The Red Sox, however, have seen Rosario at his absolute best in that regard.

The 2019 campaign ended up being one long season to forget, and perhaps no game better encapsulated the futility of Boston's title defense than an early September tilt against the Twins.

Trailing 2-1 in the ninth inning with two outs and Rafael Devers on first, the Red Sox seemingly forced extra innings when J.D. Martinez lined one off the Monster. Rosario, however, played the carom perfectly before unleashing the throw of his life, a one-hop strike to the plate that nailed Devers to secure Minnesota's 2-1 victory.

"I think I did everything perfect," Rosario said that night.

Could he soon call Fenway's left field home? The Red Sox are one of the teams rumored to have interest in the slugger after he was non-tendered by the Twins on Wednesday night.

He'd add power to a Red Sox lineup that needs to get more than Andrew Benintendi has provided out of left field over the last two years. Rosario has received MVP votes in each of the last two seasons, including 2019, when he set career highs with 32 homers and 109 RBIs. He produced on a similar pace in 2020, smacking 13 homers with 42 RBIs in 57 games.

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Were the Red Sox to sign Rosario, it would signal a willingness to spend this offseason, since he was one of the game's highest-paid non-tenders. He earned nearly $8 million in arbitration last year and projected to earn north of $10 million this year.

 

Bringing him to Boston wouldn't help make Boston's outfield any less left-handed, and it would potentially signal the end of Benintendi's tenure, since it's hard to imagine the Red Sox would be willing to play Benintendi in center, but it would add much-needed production to a lineup still accounting for the loss of MVP Mookie Betts.

It doesn't hurt Rosario's cause that the 29-year-old shares a Boston connection with manager Alex Cora, who selected him as general manager of Team Puerto Rico for the 2017 World Baseball Classic and has always spoken highly of him.

It also doesn't hurt that they've seen him at his absolute best, playing the wall like Yaz and firing the strike to home plate that let the Red Sox know with finality that 2019 just wasn't going to be their year.