Veteran Infielder Spurned Yankees Free Agent Offer To Take Less In Tampa

The New York Yankees aren't used to having free agents turn down their money. But that's exactly what happened back in February when veteran infielder Amed Rosario spurned the Bronx Bombers' $4 million offer, instead taking a $1.5 million contract from the division rival Tampa Bay Rays. 

Why did he do it? Joel Sherman reports in the New York Post that it was all about playing time. 

Rosario’s representative Ulises Cabrera told The Post that what Tampa Bay could provide was a clearer route to regular at-bats, including at shortstop where Tampa Bay is currently lined up to go with Jose Caballero. 

Indeed, the Rays' situation at the keystone is troublesome, with Wander Franco facing charges in the Dominican Republic of, among other things, sexual exploitation of a minor. His chances of returning for the 2024 season—or ever—are tenuous, at best. 

And with Taylor Walls, the only other experienced shortstop on the roster, recovering from hip surgery and not ready to begin the season, the Rays were looking at Caballero, who had only 13 games of experience at short in the majors. Rosario is a seven-year veteran with 752 games at the keystone on his résumé. In addition, at second base, Rosario's other potential position, Brandon Lowe has made a habit of missing huge chunks of recent seasons due to injury. Somewhere or another, Rosario is bound to get plenty of action in the Tampa infield. 

And for him, it appears that was worth taking a $2.5 million bath. With the Yankees, despite all that extra money, he likely wouldn't have been happy playing behind Anthony Volpe and Gleyber Torres on the middle infield. 

Of course, the recent news that the Yankees other infield backup, Oswald Peraza has suffered a big physical setback, could have opened up an opportunity, but Rosario made up his mind and will be in Tampa.

He has a career .272 average with an OPS+ of 95, just a bit under the major league average. He has 60 career homers and 96 stolen bases.

Photo: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports