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New York Mets: What do we do with Amed Rosario if he loses the shortstop job?

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 28: Amed Rosario #1 of the New York Mets looks on during the fifth inning of the first game of a doubleheader against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on August 28, 2020 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 28: Amed Rosario #1 of the New York Mets looks on during the fifth inning of the first game of a doubleheader against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on August 28, 2020 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
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What’s next for Amed Rosario if he loses the starting shortstop job?

The New York Mets have had no shortage of disappointing storylines during the hectic 2020 MLB season.

Between Noah Syndergaard’s injury, Marcus Stroman’s surprising opt-out, closer struggles, and poor play by Rick Porcello, Michael Wacha, and Steven Matz, the Mets night just lead the league in seemingly insurmountable hurdles.

However, one storyline seems to have flown under the radar: the poor play of incumbent shortstop Amed Rosario. The former number two prospect in MLB has been a disaster during the shortened campaign.

The Struggle

Much was expected of Rosario following an encouraging 2019 season. He finished the year with a .287 average, 19 steals, 15 homers, and 75 runs scored. While he was not dominant in any individual aspect of the game, his speed and athleticism allowed him to be a rare jack-of-all-trades. The ability to produce 15+ homers and steals has real value in MLB, particularly when it is accompanied by a good batting average. There were many reasons to believe Rosario was on the cusp of a breakout.

It never happened. A season primed with potential has been marred with severe regression. The shortstop has posted a middling .248 average, three home runs, and zero steals over 117 at-bats this season. His defense, which has always been an issue, has continued to be a mess. Simply put, his season has been a train wreck.

To be fair, Rosario is one of many major leaguers in the midst of a disappointing season. There is no doubt that the delayed season, accelerated summer training, and historically odd season has taken its toll. It is likely that the former top prospect will rebound during normal conditions next season. At least to a point.

However, there are other factors that must be taken into consideration.

The Replacement

These struggles have been compounded by the surprise emergence of top prospect Andres Gimenez. The rookie has burst onto the scene during his first taste of major league action, recording a .292 average, seven steals, and two homers over just 89 at-bats so far this year. He has also flashed a much more consistent glove. He has shown excellent defensive ability and one of the game’s most difficult positions. And he has the flexibility to shift around the infield.

Mets fans are clamoring for Gimenez to take over as the everyday shortstop in 2021. He has already proven to be a more dangerous hitter, base runner, and defender than Rosario. Barring a major setback, he seems primed for potential stardom.

This is great news for the New York Mets. Not so much for Rosario…

The Solution

There is seemingly only one reasonable course of action for the Mets moving forward. If they indeed feel confident that Gimenez is capable of handling a role as the everyday shortstop, they must consider trading Rosario.

While is value is glaringly less high that it would have been last offseason, MLB general managers will have the foresight to avoid placing too much emphasis on this odd season. At the end of the day, Rosario is still only 24-years-old, has a history of productivity, and has legitimately great speed. It stands to reason that many teams, both rebuilding and contending, will be interested.

This places Rosario in an awkward position in New York. It appears obvious that he will be supplanted as the everyday shortstop. His potential is also too high to settle for a backup role. The Mets would need to add depth at the position. But it would make much more sense to capitalize on Rosario’s remaining value than let to waste away in a backup role. Signing a veteran infielder to a team-friendly contract would also ease the transition.

The Value

This is the real question. How much is Amed Rosario worth at this point in his career? His name had been mentioned in potential trade discussions surrounding All-Stars like Francisco Lindor and JT Realmuto. It seems obvious this caliber of target is no longer a reasonable asking price.

However, the Mets have a number of needs that could be addressed. Whether it be adding depth to the minor league farm system or looking for a major league ready starter, bullpen arm, or centerfielder, the potential to add difference-making talent is still on the table.

Players like Lance Lynn, Raisel Iglesias, Danny Duffy, Wil Myers, and many others were all speculator trade candidates near the trade deadline. It’s possible that Lynn and Iglesias could be acquired in a deal where Rosario is the only notable piece leaving NYC. And both could make a major impact.

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If I were in a position of authority with the Mets, I would spend a great deal of effort shopping Rosario during the offseason, with hopes of maximizing his remaining value.

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