How the Mets can save Amed Rosario

Amed Rosario should be sent to the minor leagues.

This is not about punishment. This is about planning, namely for the future. For in the present, Rosario just is not getting better in the majors.

He was brought up a year ago this month because the Mets wanted to change the conversation away from a disappointing season and being trade-deadline sellers. It looks as if he was rushed before enough refinement came to his game.

Rosario might be among those whose baseball skills never catch up to the elite athleticism that made him such a touted prospect. Or maybe he just is among those who turns out not to be as good as the overheated touts.

A year into his major league career, there just has not been enough improvement. Too much inconsistency still drips from his game on both sides of the ball. This is not a criticism of Mets coaches, who are working with Rosario on, for example, better recognition of breaking balls and improved technique on his backhand.

This just might be the wrong forum to try to foster those improvements, amid the competition, intensity and scrutiny of the majors.

So how about this: Send Rosario down to Double-A so that the artificial inflation of Triple-A Las Vegas does not become a factor. Turn the last month of the minor league season (which runs through Sept. 3) into essentially a one-man Instructional League.

Assign the organization’s best infield instructor (Tim Teufel?) and best hitting coach (Ryan Ellis?) to work daily in the pregame with Rosario away from the nine innings of the majors. Then the Mets should try to add Adeiny Hechavarria. He was designated for assignment last week by the Rays, who had until 1 p.m. Monday to trade him or put him on release waivers, from which he would become a free agent if no one claims him by Wednesday.

At that point, he would cost just the pro-rated minimum the rest of the year (about $170,000), and a contender in need of defense at shortstop such as the Brewers or Phillies could tab him. But the Mets should try because: 1. He would at least provide better defense at short than Jacob deGrom and the rest of the pitchers have experienced all season. 2. This could be used as an audition in case the Mets need a shortstop to open next year or at least to replace Jose Reyes in the utility role with a legit defender. 3. Despite being let go by the Rays for his lack of offense, Hechavarria’s production is not all that different than that of Rosario.

And this is about Rosario — and next year. Who plays shortstop the rest of this lost season is not significant; the idea of Hechavarria is a fringe benefit.

Rosario is still just 22, younger than Miguel Andujar, for example. The Mets must be trying to maximize his future. So, the only question is whether that is best done continuing to work with him in the majors or the minors. And the results in the majors suggest a different path is needed.

He has managed one month in his career with an OPS over .700 and that was .725 in May. Yet, since June 1, he had a .591 OPS, the seventh worst among those with at least 175 plate appearances in that time. And it is not as if his glove is making the offense more tolerable.

Such a decision by the Mets wouldn’t be without successful precedent. Last June the Cubs demoted World Series hero Kyle Schwarber to the minors, and after his return, Chicago got a more productive player for the rest of the season as well as in 2018.

For a while it looked like just about every team was going to call up a gifted young shortstop and benefit for years. But the Phillies had pretty much given up on J.P. Crawford at the position even before he broke his left hand, and the Brewers sent down Orlando Arcia twice, including for just about the whole month of July. And those teams are in a pennant race.

Either before 2016 and/or ’17, MLB Pipeline had Crawford, Arcia and Rosario ranked in the top six prospects in the game — a reminder to fans that these lists are imperfect and that sometimes even the top prospects on them amount to just average players or less.

The Mets do not have to worry about winning now like the Brewers and Phillies. So, it doesn’t matter if they might win more games just sticking with Rosario through the growing pains. All that matters is improving for 2019 and beyond. For now, Rosario is still central to that.

What is the best environment to get the crudeness out of his game? Throwing him into the deep end of the majors has not worked. Time to try a minor move.

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