Giménez, Rosario aim to impress after trade

Young shortstops adjusting to stakes as return package in big deal

January 21st, 2021

CLEVELAND -- grew up idolizing former Indians shortstop . The 22-year-old said that it was common for kids from Venezuela to either emulate Vizquel or , but never did Giménez think he would one day be able to take the same field as his favorite player.

“You dream that,” Giménez said. “I'm living the dream now.”

Giménez will have that chance this season after he and (along with prospects Josh Wolf and Isaiah Greene) were acquired from the Mets in exchange for Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco. And while Lindor and Carrasco both said they were expecting the trade to happen, neither Giménez nor Rosario were prepared for the call.

“When I received the call, I was a little shocked, a little surprised,” Giménez said through an interpreter. “But I think it was a trade for the good, for the better. It's going to be really positive, and I embrace that mindset, that it's going to be something positive for me.”

“I mean, obviously at the time it was a little bit of a big shock, right?” Rosario added through an interpreter. “I sort of like froze when I heard the news. I was just having lunch when I heard the information. But after that it’s been a great process. Very happy to be here.”

Giménez and Rosario both consider themselves shortstops, but both were quick to say that they could play anywhere the Indians need them to. Giménez noted that he has been working hard in the offseason to make sure he’s capable of playing any infield position, but Rosario has focused mostly on short. The latter said he played a little bit of third base in the Minors but has spent nearly all of his professional career at shortstop.

I mean, I’m aware that we’re [both] capable of playing the position, but they haven’t let us know [who will play there yet],” Giménez said. “I’m sure they’ll let us know in Spring Training. But one thing for sure that I know is that all of us are capable and willing to help the team win in any way we can.”

Giménez made his Major League debut last season and hit .263 with a .732 OPS, three doubles, two triples, three homers and 12 RBIs in 49 games. He entered the 2020 season as the 84th-ranked prospect in the Majors, according to MLB Pipeline.

[Giménez is] a player with a lot of good qualities,” Rosario said. “He can do different things on the baseball field. He can hit you home runs and doubles and steal bases, but also play great defense. I got the chance to meet him for a couple of years, and he’s a great person as well.”

Rosario has been the Mets’ primary shortstop for the past four seasons and hit .252 with a .643 OPS in 46 games last season. He ended his four-year stint in New York with a .268/.302/.403 slash line, 32 homers and 148 RBIs. The 25-year-old has had success against lefties, slashing .300/.339/.473 against southpaws in his career.

[Rosario is] an incredible athlete,” Giménez said. “I’m sure you have seen all his skills on the field, but I can assure you that he’s also a great teammate and a great person. You’re up for a treat. He’s a great player to watch.”

Even though the trade was just two weeks ago, the infielders have already started to adjust to being in a new organization. While Giménez works out in Miami for the offseason, Rosario is down in the Dominican Republic and has been practicing at the Tribe’s Dominican complex.

With the 2021 season quickly approaching, Giménez and Rosario will certainly be in the spotlight as the return package for Lindor and Carrasco. But both agreed that being part of a blockbuster deal won’t cause them to feel any additional pressure.

“I'm not going to say pressure. I'm going to say a privilege, an honor and motivation for me,” Giménez said. “Being in this trade and being on a new team is just motivation for me to every day work hard and get better every day to help the team win.”

“To be honest, the feeling that I get from being involved in that type of transaction is being happy and really proud as a player,” Rosario added. “It shows the value the organization has for you, and at the same time, gives me more reason to play the game the way I do, which is just to have fun. So for me, there’s no pressure at all.”