Trevor Rosenthal is a strikeout machine who was a mainstay in St. Louis’ bullpen from 2012-2017. He was their primary closer between 2014-2015, saving 93 games with a 2.65 ERA and a 11.0 K/9. He faltered a bit in 2016, but looked like his old self in 2017 with a 3.40 ERA and a huge 14.35 K/9.
Unfortunately, Rosenthal underwent Tommy John surgery in August of 2017. That kept him out for the entirety of 2018. Unlike Michael Pineda and Drew Smyly, who signed low-cost two-year deals when they knew they would miss one season, Rosenthal opted to remain unsigned and rehabbed on his own.
The 28-year-old hosted a showcase on October 3 – roughly 13 months removed from the surgery. Word is the Tigers, along with virtually every MLB team – had a scout on hand to watch the right-hander throw.
The Tigers should consider signing Rosenthal if his cost doesn’t get too high. By the time spring training rolls around, Rosenthal will be 18 months removed from surgery and should be back to his healthy, hard-throwing ways. It’s always a risk to pick someone post-TJ, as often times their control falters and their risk for re-injury is much higher.
However, the Tigers have very little to lose in this situation. Rosenthal is just 28, and if he can return to even close to his old ways he would immediately slot into Detroit’s late-inning situation.
If things don’t work out, Detroit won’t have lost much. Plenty of teams will surely offer Rosenthal small contracts loaded with incentives, but few can offer a clearer path to a late inning role. Rosenthal would be smart to come to Detroit where he has a great chance of grabbing an eighth or ninth inning job.