Braves fan favorite lands with NL East rival on head-scratching deal

Eddie Rosario is heading to the Washington Nationals on a split contract.

Eddie Rosario, Atlanta Braves
Eddie Rosario, Atlanta Braves / Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta Braves/GettyImages

The Atlanta Braves were always going to let Eddie Rosario walk, but it's bittersweet. Rosario endeared himself to Atlanta fans on a permanent basis with his stellar 2021 postseason run. The Braves don't win a World Series without Rosario, it's that simple.

Now, he's heading to a division foe, the Washington Nationals. Rosario inked a one-year deal with the club from D.C., which will pay him up to $4 million with incentives, per Daniel Alvarez-Montes of El Extrabase. It's a split contract, which compensates Rosario based on the games split between MLB and minor leagues.

Braves fan favorite Eddie Rosario signs with Nationals on cheap deal

Rosario was not up to his usual standards in 2023. He finished the season watching from the bench as the Braves sunk in the NLDS with Kevin Pillar in left field. Again, we always knew this breakup was coming. But, for Rosario to not even get a full major league contract is borderline insanity. What are the other 29 front offices doing, exactly?

Despite his struggles, Rosario was productive. He slashed .255/.305/.450 with 21 home runs and 74 RBI in 478 AB. He did reasonably well in the advanced categories too, posting 1.1 wins above replacement (WAR) and two outs above average in the field (80th percentile, per Baseball Savant).

Washington needs all the help it can get. Maybe this is a covert charity operation from the other 29 teams. But, after going 71-91 and finishing last in the NL East, the Nats will hope Rosario can add a few extra wins to their ledger in 2024. He would have been tied for second on the team in home runs last season. Rosario joins newcomer Joey Gallo in the heart of the Nationals' projected lineup.

We will see how the Nats ultimately navigate his incentive structure, but there's no reason for Rosario to spend much time in the minors next season. The Nets need him in the majors. He can still put power behind his swings and he's competent in the field. This is a zero-downside move from Washington, essentially.

For the Braves fandom, it will be difficult to see Rosario in rival threads next season. That said, those feelings will never cross over into vitriol. Here's a nice reminder of what Rosario gave to the city of Atlanta.

Expect Rosario, at 32 years old, to make a few teams look silly in 2024.

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