Former Cleveland Indian Eddie Rosario Is The MVP Of The NLCS; Did Cleveland Make A Mistake?

The Atlanta Braves snuck into the World Series this year and have a former, though a brief member of the Cleveland Indians, Eddie Rosario to thank for that massive accomplishment. The Braves were a sub .500 team when they got Rosario in a trade from the Indians back at the MLB trade deadline on July 30th. Not only did he help push the Braves into the playoffs but he dominated the National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers and propelled them to the October classic.

Was the decision by the Indians to basically give Rosario away for practically nothing the right call? They received Pablo Sandoval and some cash for Rosario. The Tribe then released Sandoval the next day so the team virtually gave Rosario away for free. The Indians actually were 50-50 on the season but nine games behind the Chicago White Sox in the standings. But still, the Indians were a .500 club and only six games back in the wild card race for the playoffs.

Should the Indians have tried to hold onto Rosario back in July? Would keeping Rosario have helped the team more later into the season and given the Indians a better run at the playoffs? It’s hard to predict such a predicament but maybe giving him away when they did wasn’t the wisest move considering the outcome for the Braves and Rosario.

The Indians were looking to cut costs back in July. The team is near the bottom of team salaries to their players as they only dish out $44 million which currently is 26th out of the 30 MLB teams. The Baltimore Orioles only hand out $22 million to their ballplayers. MLB is so skewed, as teams like the New York Yankees 26 man payroll is clear of $231 million. The Braves, for the case of Rosario and their current run to the World Series, are at $135 million, so almost $100 million more than the Indians. The league average is $107 million.

The Indians gave Rosario’s contract of $8 million to the Braves and they are in the World Series. For the Indians, the idea of giving up on talented players has been commonplace for decades. When the Indians had their window of success in the late 1990s and early 2000s they decided to send every superstar away to save money. From Albert Belle, Manny Ramirez, Jim Thome, Corey Kluber to Francisco Lindor and dozens of more players the Indians management has quit on players to save a buck and that’s the real tragedy of the Indians organization but that’s for another tale and discussion.

Back to Rosario and the question of if it was the right move for the Indians? Yes, because the Indians are relatively cheap when it comes to its paying players and at the time of the move Rosario wasn’t exactly knocking it out of the ballpark. He was struggling on the season and was injured as well. Through 78 games and 306 plate appearances, he was only batting .254 with 72 hits, seven home runs and only 46 RBI’s. He had more strikeouts at 47 than RBI’s.

In Rosario’s career, he is a .275 batting average player. His best season was back in 2019 with the Minnesota Twins where he hit 32 home runs and drove in 109 RBI’s.

When he got to the Braves and started playing in early August he ended up batting in 26 RBI’s in 33 games while hitting seven home runs. That was decent, but it’s what he did this past week in the NLCS against the Dodgers that earned him MVP honors for the series. He drove three home runs over the fences and knocked in nine RBI’s at crucial times in a series the Braves were considered heavy underdogs. The 14 hits in 28 plate appearances were very impressive and something Indians fans had hoped to see themselves before he was given to the Braves for pennies.

As Indians fans and now having the team name changed to Guardians, the road has been difficult to follow and continue as a supporter of a team that doesn’t value talent like a player like Rosario,  the NLCS MVP and maybe a World Series winner when it is all said and done.

Go Braves!

Not! I still haven’t recovered from the 1995 World Series between the Indians and Braves that the Braves won in six games.

 

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