Earlier this month, the Kansas City Royals signed former All-Star RHP Trevor Rosenthal to a minor-league contract. The details of the contract provide $2 million if Rosenthal were to make the major league roster and includes an invite to spring training. The 29-year old last pitched for the Tigers this past season following his release from the Washington Nationals in June.
Past History and a Return to Roots
Rosenthal is a Kansas City native; he graduated from Lee’s Summit West High School and went on to attend Cowley County Community College. The right-hander began his career with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2012 – the same place where current Royals manager Mike Matheny was managing. In those six years, Rosenthal recorded 121 saves with a 2.99 ERA. This included an All-Star game appearance in 2015 when he posted 48 saves and a 2.10 ERA.
Following that 2015 season, Rosenthal would go on to injure his elbow, needing Tommy John Surgery in 2017 and missing the whole 2018 season. Eventually, his struggles to return would result in a release from the Cardinals. This past season, Rosenthal returned to the majors with the Nationals, but struggled horribly, walking 26 batters and accumulating a 13.50 ERA in just 15.1 innings before his release in June. The Detroit Tigers then gave him a shot, where Rosenthal would go on to only pitch nine innings.
The one thing about Rosenthal is his high-90s fastball, which occasionally hits triple digits, along with the high-velocity slider. The Tommy John Surgery did not appear to hurt his velocity on his fastball and slider, but his command and walk rates have drastically risen, going from 3.8 BB/9 before the surgery to 11.0 BB/9 post-surgery.
This is a low-risk, high reward signing as Rosenthal is coming to the Royals following another year off his surgery. There is a chance he can produce better results coming back to play for Matheny. If Rosenthal can stay healthy for the Royals, he could become a solid late-inning pitcher for the bullpen.
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