Eddie Rosario had 19 home runs at the All-Star break in 2018, but he wasn’t invited to Washington. He hit 20 in the first half of 2019, but didn’t get a berth on the American League team in Cleveland. So his plans for 2020 are pretty simple.
“I’ll just have to have 30 this year, I guess,” Rosario said with a smile.
The Twins’ incumbent left fielder is getting used to feeling slighted, but he’s also good at channeling any frustration into his game. He has more hits, RBI and extra-base hits as a Twin than any of his current teammates, and more home runs than anybody but Miguel Sano.
Yet it was Sano who signed a multiyear contract earlier this month, two years before hitting free agency, and not the 28-year-old Rosario.
“I’m open to those conversations. I’d like to talk about it,” said Rosario, who signed a one-year, $7.75 million contract for 2020. “But I have to orient myself for [not getting one]. I know how baseball works.”
Rosario said he has been working hard to rehab his left ankle, which he injured in June. He spent 10 days on the injured list and returned to action in early July, but by the end of the season, Rosario said, “It was bad. It hurt. But at the end, when you’re in the playoffs, it doesn’t matter about injuries. You’re playing to win those games.”
Rosario said he expects the Twins to win plenty of games this year, too, especially now that they’ve added Josh Donaldson to their lineup.
But he clearly felt a little awkward about his new teammate’s signing, too; Donaldson has worn No. 20, same as Rosario, for most of his career.
Rosario didn’t want to talk about giving up the only number he’s ever worn.
“It’s for my family,” Rosario said.
For the 40-plus crowd
Sometime in July, Nelson Cruz almost certainly will become the fifth Twin ever to hit a home run after his 40th birthday. The other four — Dave Winfield, Paul Molitor, Jim Thome and Torii Hunter — are either in the Hall of Fame or the Twins’ Hall of Fame.
Cruz hit 41 home runs last season, and a repeat performance would give him the American League record for homers by a player in his 40s, a mark now held by Boston’s David Ortiz (38).
“He’s one of those unique players who seems to be giving Father Time the business,” Twins General Manager Thad Levine told a TwinsFest audience at Target Field on Saturday.
The team has begun considering how long Cruz, voted the team’s Most Valuable Player in October, can continue to do so. And they might be willing to put some money on it.
The Twins exercised a $12 million option in Cruz’s contract for the 2020 season “without a moment’s hesitation,” Levine said.
This year’s abbreviated TwinsFest was a sellout on both days, drawing a total of 11,500 to Target Field on Friday and Saturday. But that doesn’t mean that more changes aren’t coming for the annual event.
Now that the formerly three-day event has shrunk to two, the team is considering whether it makes more sense to hold it on Saturday-Sunday rather than this year’s Friday-Saturday schedule.
And the opening of the Fillmore Theater just two blocks from the ballpark has given the Twins an opportunity for something different, team President Dave St. Peter said.
“We have this beautiful new concert hall available, so you just allow yourself to dream,” St. Peter said. “Maybe instead of TwinsFest on Friday, there’s a concert there, reaching a completely different audience. Do something Twins-themed, get the players involved.”