Eddie Rosario said his farewells and thank yous in an Instagram post.
Back at ya, Eddie.
The Twins' decision to move on from Rosario to save money and create an opening for top hitting prospect Alex Kirilloff has been in the works for two years, and was broadcast when the team gave him his first major league at-bats in a playoff elimination game.
Eventually that decision will look sound if Kirilloff is anything close to the hitter the team expects him to be.
For the moment, the two most important developments in the American League Central are these:
1. The Twins have jettisoned a player who hit 32 home runs and drove in 109 runs in his last full season, and led the team in RBI in 2020.
2. The White Sox traded two good pitching prospects for Lance Lynn, giving Chicago the starting pitchers who finished fifth, sixth and seventh in the 2020 AL Cy Young Award voting.
The Twins finished one game ahead of Chicago and Cleveland in the division standings in 2020, and the White Sox just improved themselves dramatically, at least for the short term.
The White Sox are winning the pre-holidays portion of the offseason. They also have foreshadowed what is likely to be the Twins' next big move.
There is one big-league pitcher on the free-agent market who will command what will constitute big money in a pandemic — Trevor Bauer — and he is the only current ace available. The Twins are unlikely to end up with him, even though they have made big plays for pitchers such as Yu Darvish since Derek Falvey took over.
With Kenta Maeda and Jose Berrios at the top of the rotation, the Twins need pitchers who can provide innings and stand up to tough lineups in October. The best avenue for bolstering the rotation likely will be via trade.
Lynn should help the White Sox this year but they eventually could regret trading quality young pitching, the most valuable asset in baseball. The Twins were unlikely to trade for Lynn, given his poutiness when they signed him to a one-year deal in 2018 and he helped ruin their season.
But they should try to trade for someone like him, and they have demonstrated exactly how they might proceed.
In 2018, the Twins traded shortstop prospect Jermaine Palacios to Tampa Bay for Jake Odorizzi. Palacios has failed to produce against minor league pitching and might never be a big-league regular. Odorizzi helped the Twins win the 2019 division title and pitched well against the Yankees in the playoffs before injuries derailed his 2020 season.
Before the 2020 season, the Twins traded for Maeda, something of a utility pitcher, from the Dodgers in a deal that cost them top pitching prospect Brusdar Graterol. Maeda finished second in Cy Young voting and pitched well in the playoffs; Graterol helped the Dodgers win the World Series.
If the Twins are going to match Chicago's deal for Lynn — and that's not always how on-the-field baseball works — they will be trying to recreate the Odorizzi and Maeda deals, either trading prospects who don't fit into their long-term plans, or trading quality prospects for high-quality arms.
As Rosario says his goodbyes, let's back away from the hot stove and recognize that without Rosario and players like him, the Twins would have experienced one of the worst decades in franchise history.
When the Twins saved their franchise in the early 2000s, they did so not with superstars, but youngsters who were better competitors than players. Rosario was the modern incarnation of Jacque Jones, Doug Mientkiewicz and A.J Pierzynski.
What cost Rosario his job was his overaggressiveness at the plate and on the bases, but that trait also made him a far better player than he should have been, given his small frame and obvious flaws.
He became a cleanup hitter for a division winner, and a player whose energy proved infectious.
Rosario should be remembered with fondness.