Trevor Rosenthal is hosting Showcase today
Free-agent right-hander Trevor Rosenthal is hosting a showcase for major league clubs at St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens today, tweets Jon Heyman of the New York Post. It stands to reason that scouts from most teams will be in attendance to gauge the former All-Star’s readiness to return to a big-league mound.
A healthy Rosenthal can be one of the game’s most effective helpers, as he’s shown on numerous occasions in the past. Unfortunately, his health has failed him in recent years. Rosenthal underwent surgery from Tommy John in the middle of the 2017 season, wiping out his entire 2018 campaign. He returned with the Nats and Tigers in 2019 and had lost any semblance of control of the strike zone, leading 26 of the 85 batsmen he faced that season on foot (30.6%) and knocking down another four.
After that alarming season, Rosenthal settled on a minor league deal with the Royals for the 2020 season and quickly re-established himself as a dominant late-inning powerhouse. Due to the tightened 60-game schedule, he only pitched 23 2/3 innings, but Rosenthal overwhelmed his opponents with a 1.90 ERA, a 41.8% elite strikeout rate, and a strong 8.3 walk rate % – and all at an average speed of 98.1 mph on its heater.
Despite that dominant performance, Rosenthal didn’t find the weighty multi-year deal he sought early in free agency, and he eventually took a one-year, $11 million deal from a surprise contender: the A’s. Unfortunately for Oakland and Rosenthal, injuries once again derailed his 2021 season. A groin strain slowed Rosenthal early in spring training, and shoulder problems prevented him from starting the season. Eventually it turned out that Rosenthal needed surgery to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome. Over the summer while working toward a hoped-for late-season return, a torn labrum in his hip required re-operation.
Rosenthal’s career stats — 3.36 ERA, 132 saves, 31.2% strikeout rate, 11.3% walk rate, 44.3% grounder rate, 98.1 mph average fastball — all speak to the sheer talent in his right arm. (It’s a 2.91 ERA and a 10.1% walk rate if you throw away the anomalous 2019 season.) However, he’s now only pitched 39 innings since undergoing Tommy John surgery long ago in August 2017 has undergone.
Bullpen help is always in demand, and virtually every competing team (and likely several non-competitors) will want to take a look at Rosenthal in hopes of bolstering their support force for the second half of the season. He is unlikely to command a multi-year pact given the lengthy injury layoff, so signing Rosenthal – at worst – represents a short-term risk with plenty of upside potential. It’s not yet clear when Rosenthal will be ready to step on a major league hill. He’ll likely need an adjustment in the minor leagues to get used to the game settings again and build extra arm strength, but when he’s ready to audition for MLB clubs, he and agent Scott Boras can’t feel like he’s going to is far away.