Amed Rosario is a curious case. Hes a former top prospect, still very young at 23 and clearly has the tools to be at the very least an above average SS, and you can even see that he has the potential to be a star.

But what the Mets have gotten is, to be frank, far from it. What we’ve gotten is a streaky hitter that strikes out at an above average rate and a poor defensive shortstop. His tantalizing speed is not used as often as anyone would like on the basepaths, likely because he doesn’t get on base very often: he has never eclipsed .300 in a full season in OBP.

What we see is a young hitter taking baby steps towards being an average player. He’s come closer to being average with the bat every season: 75 wRC+ in his first season, 85 in his second, and currently sitting at 89 with the hope he’ll get better as the season goes on in 2019. His walk rate has increased every season, but is still well below average. His strikeout rate dropped big time in 2018, but is slightly up in 2019. Minor improvements are still improvements, and this would be easier to swallow if not for his defense. It’s easy to see the star potential at the plate when Rosario is on, as he drives pitches over the right center field fence and can stretch singles into doubles and doubles into triples with his speed.

His defense has flat out not been as advertised. What we were told by scouts and analysts is that his glove was 60-65 grade and major league ready, and he has been far from it, dwelling in the defensive runs saved cellar for both his full seasons in the majors. In addition to his streakiness at the plate, Rosario also suffers from streakiness on the field. He goes through stretches in which he seems to be stable defensively, showing off a cannon of an arm and quick feet in the field. But he also goes through stretches where he shows little range, what could possibly be determined as a lack of focus in the field, and an errant throwing arm; all of which make him look borderline unplayable at the major league level. He has displayed both in 2019: with the first 6-8 weeks of the season looking dreadful, and recently the defense stabilizing into average territory.

So the real question is: what can be done? Do the Mets just sit tight with Rosario at SS during an “all-in” season and swallow the painful slumps in the name of development? Do the Mets send Rosario down? Do they meet both ends in the middle and take away playing time? But to who?

The Mets have a few options at SS that are defense first caliber and could potentially share time with Rosario. Adeiny Hechavarria is a much better defensive SS, and in limited time has been passable with the bat this season, although for his career he is well below average offensively. The Mets also have Luis Guillorme, whose natural position is SS and is also well above average with the glove. Guillorme is also patient at the plate, and although he hasn’t shown much at the major league level, he has hit well in AAA this season (.297/.419/.391) and should warrant some kind of audition if the Mets were inclined to make a move.

The goal of this article is not to say Rosario won’t develop, but rather that the Mets should explore their options if they plan to contend- because right now they’re playing a defense first SS who isn’t playing defense well. Split his time a bit, and watch him grow.