The Guardians and Dodgers made a one-for-one trade on July 26, and two former Mets were the pieces of the deal. Maligned starter Noah Syndergaard is headed to Cleveland, while shortstop Amed Rosario will join the Dodgers. Here’s a closer look at the deal.
The Dodgers’ Return
- SS Amed Rosario (.265/.306/.369 with three home runs, nine stolen bases, and 28 extra base hits in 94 games (412 PA))
Two and a half years ago, the Guardians acquired Rosario in the blockbuster that sent Francisco Lindor to Queens. With the Mets, Rosario flashed electric tools, but never put it together to become the elite player that some thought he could become.
Between 2021-23, Rosario hit .273/.308/.400 with 25 career home runs, 40 stolen bases, and 116 extra base hits for the Guardians. The 27-year-old right-handed hitter possesses plus speed — which helps him turn routine doubles into triples — and a good feel for putting the ball in play, but Rosario’s always been a high chase hitter that draws very few walks.
Rosario’s career splits against left-handers (.302/.343/.474) are much better than against pitchers from the same side (.262/.296/.373), and he did hit .303 against LHP this season. That asset could benefit the Dodgers, who sported the second-worst batting average (.227) against lefties despite a 109 wRC+ figure that sat 11th in the Majors as of July 26.
The biggest question regarding Rosario, though, is his defensive ability. Despite great speed and average arm strength, Rosario has never been a particularly sound shortstop. This season, Rosario owned a -15 Outs Above Average in Cleveland.
The Guardians’ Return
- SP Noah Syndergaard (7.16 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 38 K in 55.1 IP in 2023)
We went into detail on Syndergaard’s struggles back in May, so we’ll keep this section brief. Simply put, “Thor” has been anything but the elite starter he was in the mid-2010s with the New York Mets.
Signed by the Dodgers this past winter, Syndergaard’s fastball velocity remained in the low-90s this season — far removed from his days when he consistently hit the triple digits with his fastball. He couldn’t find much success with his changeup, nor a cutter that often sat over the plate and, in turn, proved to be very hittable. Opposing hitters batted .375 off Syndergaard’s cutter.
The 30-year-old owned a 7.16 ERA over 12 starts this season, before the Dodgers placed him on the IL with a blister issue. Syndergaard struck out eight over ten innings in Oklahoma City (AAA) this month during a rehab stint, but had an ERA of 5.40.
Los Angeles reportedly sent cash to Cleveland to cover the difference in salaries.
The Dodgers picked up another right-handed bat in Rosario, a day after Los Angeles re-acquired infielder/outfielder Enrique Hernandez from the Red Sox. Los Angeles’ middle infield production tanked this season, thanks in large part to the departure of Trea Turner and the season-ending injury that Gavin Lux suffered in Spring Training.
Should the Dodgers roll with Rosario at short, he could provide an offensive boost, particularly against left-handed pitching. However, the question about his defense will likely not go away, as he’s never been known to be an adept defender at short.
Cleveland, meanwhile, moves Rosario out and opens up the door for Gabriel Arias and Tyler Freeman at short. Arias had been gaining traction in the Guardians’ infield rotation, and manager Terry Francona stated earlier this week that he would be a defensive substitute at the position in late innings. With Rosario gone, his playing time could increase.
Additionally, the Guardians do get to add Syndergaard and look to see if he can find some consistency in Cleveland.