Cubs could improve in the outfield by trading for Eddie Rosario

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

With change promised, will the Cubs look to trade for a guy like Eddie Rosario?

Jed Hoyer signed a new five-year contract as the Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations this week. He has made no secret that the offense will “look different” in 2021 and that major changes are coming to the organization.

Hoyer also stated that he will start the search for a new General Manager soon. It’s hard to say what Hoyer means when he says the offense will look different, but if he wants to add more contact, Minnesota Twins outfielder Eddie Rosario should be a top trade target.

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Rosario hits for power, plays passable enough defense, is right in the prime of his career, and, most importantly, he does not strike out. His career strikeout rate is just 19 percent, according to Fangraphs. Since 2017, however, he has struck out less than 20 percent of the time, and has had a wRC+ of over 100 every year since 2017. He has hit 24, 27 and 32 home runs in the 2017, 2018, and 2019 seasons. Over a 60-game season in 2020, he smashed 13 dingers.

Rosario is also a free agent after next season, so a trade makes sense for both sides. The Cubs also have some impending free agents and could shed salary, while both teams also get something back for an impending free agent.

The main thing the Cubs need to add, and it sounds like a broken record at this point – is contact. Contact, contact, contact. Rosario would be a nice start. It’s unknown what the Twins’ offseason plans are, or if Rosario is even available, but since Minnesota has lost 18-straight postseason games, one assumption could be that they would look to change up their roster as well.

Rosario is primarily a left fielder, but he has seen time at all outfield positions over the course of his career, and that would also help the Cubs from a depth standpoint.

It’s also unknown whether the Cubs will look to make any trades, but Hoyer said there are no current ongoing contract talks, although there are players he would like to keep as Cubs long-term. Trades do seem more likely than not when there are this many upcoming free agents on one team.

Kyle Schwarber for Eddie Rosario is trading Rosario’s career 11.4 WAR for Schwarber’s 9.5. The Twins may ask for more than just Schwarber but this trade helps both teams. The Twins add OBP and slugging while the Cubs add contact and slugging.

One thing the Twins offense doesn’t do is walk or get on base at a very high clip. Schwarber cures both of those ailments with his patience at the plate. Minnesota ranked 20th out of 30 teams in OBP in 2020, at just .315, and had the ninth lowest walk rate. The Cubs, on the other hand, had the fourth-highest strikeout rate in baseball, at 25.7 percent – over a quarter of their plate appearances ended in a strikeout.

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Chicago has needed to add more contact hitters to their lineup for years. Rosario is a good target, and should just be a starting point. Hoyer has his work cut out for him, but the last nine years should have earned his trust among the fanbase.