Impact of Trading Rosario | Moving Forward

July 27, 2023

Tony Camino

Analyzing Guardians’ Next Lineup Moves After The Rosario Trade

It finally happened. After half a season of Guardians’ Twitter being adamant about the team moving on from Amed Rosario to let the kids play, the team shipped him to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard. At first glance, this seems like a seller-type move, getting rid of a guy who has been in the two-hole for the last two and a half seasons. However, his offense has dropped off significantly this year, and his defense has sunk to the worst in all of baseball.

  • Who’s the shortstop for the rest of 2023?
  • Oscar Gonzales’s call-up creates an outfield logjam
  • Will Cam Gallagher continue to see the lineup?

Rosario was a great clubhouse guy and contributed significantly to our offense during his tenure here. However, he was unable to hit for power and his defensive performance at the crucial shortstop position was a major concern. While this move may appear to be in line with a seller-type strategy, it was undoubtedly the best choice not just for the future but also for the present.

Who will be the shortstop for the last 2 months?

With the influx of young talent at the shortstop position, the Guardians have various options for the rest of 2023. The most obvious choice is Tyler Freeman, who has displayed a 105 wRC+ this year despite not getting consistent at-bats. His quality of contact statistics surpasses the league average, and he will undoubtedly improve the team’s defense at the position. I anticipate him playing the majority of the innings in 2023, as he has proven his readiness whenever the team called upon him this year.

Another major-league-level player who is likely to see some time at shortstop towards the end of the year is Gabriel Arias. While his surface-level numbers may not be impressive (71 wRC+, .188 BA), his quality of contact stats suggest he is hitting the ball hard and is due for positive regression. Defensively, his slightly negative outs above average can be attributed mostly to the team experimenting with him in the outfield. Although not quite the defender Freeman is, Arias is still an upgrade over Rosario defensively.

Brayan Rocchio, the highest-ranked prospect with a chance at shortstop this year, has been excelling in Columbus. He boasts an impressive .300 batting average with a .816 OPS in 84 games. Rocchio’s defense is likely the best among the three options, but I don’t expect him to be called up until the rosters expand in September unless injuries pile up. Rocchio certainly has the potential to be a significant part of the team’s future, but we may have to wait until 2024 to see him consistently.

A different idea that some propose is to move Andres Gimenez back to shortstop, a position he plays for Team Venezuela. As a Gold Glove winner at second base, it would make sense to utilize his talent at shortstop; however, such a move is more likely to happen during the offseason. In any case, Arias, Rocchio, and Freeman could be options for second base, making it a matter of deciding where everyone’s best fits lie.

Prediction: Tyler Freeman primarily, with Gabriel Arias getting a more consistent utility man role

Outfield Outlook with Oscar Gonzales back

After spending nearly, the entirety of the season in Columbus up until this point, the 2022 postseason hero, Oscar Gonzales, is finally back in the majors, taking Amed Rosario’s roster spot. We finally get another look at the outfielder who recently had a nice hot streak in triple-A. However, if Myles Straw continues to be the everyday center fielder, it’s going to be interesting to see how he finds playing time.

If I were tasked with creating the lineup, I would love to see Straw move to the bench. He’s a great defensive center fielder and has one of the fastest sprint speeds in the league, making him perfect as a bench option. Although he’s hitting an okay .240 this year, his wRC+ is just 73, and his quality of contact stats are some of the worst in baseball. Only 18 of his hits are not singles, showing that he’s basically good for a single 24% of the time.

With Straw on the bench, Will Brennan would likely take over in center for the time being, considering he’s seen more time there this year than anyone not named Straw. Steven Kwan will obviously lock up left field, leaving Gonzales as the primary right fielder, with the ability to give David Fry and Gabriel Arias some more at-bats in the outfield depending on the pitcher.

In all likelihood, the team’s obsession with Straw likely means he stays put as the everyday guy out there. Tito Francona seems to love him, and he is our best option there defensively. However, this lineup is in desperate need of some more power, and moving Straw to the bench seems to be the best route to achieve it

Prediction: Steven Kwan in left, Myles Straw in center, Will Brennan and Oscar Gonzales platoon in right

Catchers Rotating Playing Time?

As it stands, the roster still has three guys who are going to get time at the catcher position: Bo Naylor, David Fry, and Cam Gallagher. Naylor is the future and currently offers the best combination of defense and offense at that position. While he hasn’t been as productive on offense as Fry, he’s been heating up lately and seems to get big hits in bunches.

Gallagher is currently the team’s best defensive catcher, and recent comments by Francona make it unlikely to see him go down. He excels in pitch framing, is an above-average blocker, and has a strong arm. However, he sits in the bottom half in pop time, and despite those great defensive stats, he has a -6 wRC+ (100 is league average) and negative wins above replacement.

What I would like to see is Noah Syndergaard take Gallagher’s spot when he’s healthy, and Gallagher can rejoin the team when the rosters expand for the stretch run. This would allow Naylor to get primary catcher reps, and Fry can handle the duties versus left-handed pitching in afternoon games.

Prediction: Bo Naylor and David Fry handle most catching duties, Cam Gallagher is either DFA’d or only used as a late-game replacement


Moving Amed Rosario opens up some playing time for the young guys but creates interesting decisions in other spots. Tyler Freeman and Gabriel Arias will likely fill the roles in the middle infield next to Andres Gimenez, but Brayan Rocchio is right on the horizon and will join the team in September. Moving Myles Straw to the bench creates clarity in the outfield, but it’s not a move I would anticipate because of how much the team values his defense. Bo Naylor and David Fry should handle all of the catching duties, and Cam Gallagher is likely to stick around in some capacity because of how much Tito loves his defense.

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