CLEVELAND (AP) — Eddie Rosario has gone from hammering to helping the Indians.
The free agent outfielder, who spent the past six seasons with Minnesota, agreed Friday to a one-year contract with Cleveland, which is making good on a promise to re-invest some of the money it saved by trading All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor.
Rosario’s contract is pending the completion of a physical, a person familiar with the negotiations told the Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the medical tests aren’t finished.
The Indians know the 29-year-old Rosario well as he’s been a nemesis with the AL Central rival Twins. Rosario has more career homers (22 in 93 games) against Cleveland than any other team. He hit 11 of those homers at Progressive Field — his most at any road ballpark.
Rosario’s deal came together a few hours after the Indians finalized a one-year, $5 million contract with free agent second baseman César Hernández, who was a solid free agent pickup in 2020 when he won his first Gold Glove.
Rosario is a huge addition for Cleveland’s outfield, which has been an issue for the past two seasons as the team has used a platoon of players.
After the Indians sent Lindor and starter Carlos Carrasco to the New York Mets earlier this month and cut more than $30 million from their payroll, Chris Antonetti, the team’s president of baseball operations, tried to soothe some outraged Cleveland fans by pledging to put money back into the roster.
He’s done that in bringing back Hernández and acquiring Rosario, who will provide some needed pop to manager Terry Francona’s lineup following the losses of Lindor and Carlos Santana.
Rosario had his best season in 2019, when he reached career-highs with 32 homers and 109 RBIs in 137 games. During the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season, he batted .257 with 13 homers and drove in 42 runs in 57 games.
A left-handed hitter, Rosario has a career .277 average with 119 homers and 388 RBIs. MLB.com first reported his deal.
Earlier, the Indians officially signed Hernández to his deal, which includes a $6 million club option in 2022 with no buyout.
The 30-year-old Hernández was an invaluable addition last season. He led the AL with 20 doubles and helped the Indians secure a wild-card berth. He batted .283 with three homers, 20 RBIs and 35 runs in 58 games.
Cleveland acquired middle infielders Amed Rosario and Andrés Giménez from the Mets in the Jan. 7 trade of Lindor, a four-time All-Star who was entering his final year under contract and had rejected numerous long-term offers.
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