In a perfect world, the Chicago Cubs would bring in anybody they wanted regardless of the price tag and acquire the best free agents this offseason. The reality is that they do indeed want to spend, let’s face it they have no choice, but not necessarily top-dollar. Big names could be off the table and the club could focus on that next tier of players. If the Cubs really want to spend ‘intelligently’ as they say they do, then they will have to evaluate many options on the market and seek value in the right places.
One guy on the market that could bring some value and not break the bank is outfielder Eddie Rosario. The 30-year-old left fielder from Puerto Rico spent last season with Cleveland and Atlanta, where he went on to win NLCS MVP and a World Series championship. He is a free agent now and could be a nice addition to the Cubs lineup.
Chicago Cubs: Here’s how Eddie Rosario fits on this roster
Rosario has played seven seasons in the bigs, mostly in Minnesota, and sports a career .275/.309/.473 slash line with 133 home runs, 450 RBI, a .782 OPS and 105 wRC+. He is also a career 12.4 fWAR player in 808 games. Last year’s postseason was a memorable one for him, as he slashed .383/.456/.617 with three home runs and 11 RBI. He racked up 14 hits alone in the NLCS and hit all of his 2021 postseason home runs came in that series.
While not a big on-base guy, Rosario can hit for power and drive in runs. He has three career 20+ home run seasons, including a 32-homer campaign in 2019. It is also worth noting that since 2017 he has had a cumulative OPS of .798 and has averaged around 22 home runs a season. He hit 13 in 57 games during the 2020 pandemic season.
In terms of contact, Rosario has a career strikeout rate under 20 percent (18.5%) and has not had a season with a strikeout rate north of 15 percent since 2018. So in terms of whiffing, he is in the average/above average percentile, which is nice for a power hitter.
Why is he a good fit for the Cubs? The current roster could use more pop. The uncertainly of Patrick Wisdom and Frank Schwindel repeating their impressive 2021 campaigns coupled with MLB-ready building blocks like Nico Hoerner and Nick Madrigal providing little to no power leaves just Willson Contreras and Ian Happ as the primary power hitters. Rosario provides a left-handed power bat that can hit 20+ home runs, 20-30 doubles and a 100-120 OPS+. Postseason experience doesn’t hurt either.
Current Steamer projections have him as a .263/.309/.456 hitter with 25 home runs and 106 wRC+ in 2022. Last season he signed a one-year, $8 million deal with the Indians. He is not going to break the bank in free agency this year. Like last winter, he is a solid bat that could fly under the radar. Just maybe not as much as last year as he made a bit of a name for himself this postseason. Nevertheless, he is out there looking for someone to bring him for his underrated productive bat.