Dodgers Plan For Amed Rosario To Fill Utility Role In Starts Against Left-Handed Pitching

The Los Angeles Dodgers have been busy upgrading their roster prior to the trade deadline, acquiring four players thus far, including Amed Rosario from the Cleveland Guardians for Noah Syndergaard.

Rosario was activated prior to the series opener against the Cincinnati Reds on Friday and immediately inserted into the Dodgers lineup as the starting shortstop. However, moving forward, manager Dave Roberts expects Rosario to fill more of a utility role while seeing most of his starts against left-handed pitching.

“It’s certainly a big upgrade for our ballclub,” Roberts said. “He’s a guy that’s playing every day, and so a heck of a ballplayer, an even better person from what I hear. So my short dealings with him, I’m really excited to get to know him.

“I got him at shortstop today because he’s played primarily shortstop in the last couple years. But the thought is, it just makes for an easier transition for him as he’s come today, new ballclub. But the plan is for him to get more acclimated to second base, to play some center field.

“And I think upgrading our lineup versus left, and so he’ll see a brunt majority of his time versus left-handed pitching. He’ll come into games when a right-handed starter starts and we kind of bring in our reinforcement. So he understands kind of how we do things.

“And he’s been good versus right-handed pitching, but he’s been a killer versus lefties, and that’s something that we want to capture.”

Rosario ranks as one of the worst defensive shortstops in baseball with -15 outs above average in just over half a season. While he hasn’t been a plus defender since 2020, the 27-year-old was better last season, posting a -10 OAA through the entire year — still not great but a significant improvement.

“I haven’t seen much. I really haven’t,” Roberts said about Rosario’s defense at shortstop. “So last year, I’ve heard it was pretty solid at short. This year, it’s taken a step back. I don’t know the answer. So tonight, the reasoning behind it is I want to make him as comfortable as possible in his transition here.

“But going forward, I think it’s going to be more of Miguel Rojas and Chris Taylor.”

With Rosario primarily playing second base and center field moving forward against left-handed pitching, that leaves the door open for Mookie Betts to start at second against right-handers while James Outman, David Peralta and Jason Heyward fill the outfield.

The Dodgers are expected to use some combination of Rosario, Taylor, Betts, Rojas and Kiké Hernández to fill their outfield and middle infield against left-handers, but the exact positions are still to be determined. Roberts also said Outman is an option to see some starts against southpaws.

Amed Rosario not ruled out as a shortstop option

While Rojas and Taylor will primarily be the Dodgers’ two shortstop options, Roberts did not rule out the possibility Rosario could see some time there as well.

“Yeah, I think there, the way we’ve done it, I obviously see Miguel Rojas and then I think I feel good with C.T. there,” Roberts noted. “And so if Amed gets back over there, that could potentially happen. So I think we got some good options.”

If Rosario ends up seeing more time at shortstop, it would likely come against right-handed pitchers as he presents an offensive upgrade over Rojas and Taylor while facing righties.

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