The Los Angeles Dodgers traded pitcher Noah Syndergaard and cash considerations to the Cleveland Guardians in exchange for shortstop Amed Rosario.
Rosario, 27, went to Cleveland in the Francisco Lindor trade. He appeared in 46 games for the New York Mets in the 2020 season, hitting .252 with four homers, 15 RBI and 20 runs. That came after an excellent 2019 that saw him set career bests in homers (15), RBI (72), batting average (.287) and OPS (.755).
Rosario continued to perform well into 2021 and 2022, but his production has fallen off a bit. Through 94 games this season, he’s batting .265 with a .369 slugging percentage.
The Guardians as a team rank 25th in wOBA (.304) and 23rd in wRC+ (92), per FanGraphs. They managed to make the playoffs last year despite having a pedestrian offense, but multiple injuries to their pitching staff has made repeating that formula impossible.
The clock was also ticking regarding Rosario’s future from the moment Cleveland signed Andrés Giménez, another piece from the Lindor trade, to a seven-year, $106.5 million extension.
With Giménez locked in long term at second base and some talented middle infielders working their way up the minors, a Rosario trade felt inevitable as he approaches free agency in the offseason.
On the Dodgers, Rosario’s offensive limitations will be covered up much more. And he’s actually an upgrade over Miguel Rosas, who has a .556 OPS in 254 plate appearances.
Los Angeles managed to find a stopgap solution at shortstop while Gavin Lux continues his recovery from a torn ACL. Depending on where Lux is this winter, the team has the flexibility to ponder better alternatives down the road.
As for Syndergaard, the 30-year-old is 1-4 this season in 12 starts with a 7.16 ERA, 1.44 WHIP and 38 strikeouts in 55.1 innings. He remains a far cry from the player who was a one-time All-Star and top-end rotational option during his early years from the New York Mets.
The Guardians, in need of arms in the starting rotation, will be hoping the veteran can eat some innings as a No. 5 starter. He was decent enough in 2022 (3.94 ERA, 1.25 WHIP in 134.2 innings between the Los Angeles Angels and Philadelphia Phillies) to take a chance on down the stretch.