The Nationals have a deal in place with former Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal, who sat out the 2018 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery. USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale reported the news first on Wednesday, and MASN’s Mark Zuckerman adds that the deal is pending a physical — which isn’t always a walk in the park for a guy coming off reconstructive elbow surgery:
With that said, if Rosenthal’s recent workouts are any indication, he should be just fine as he returns to the majors:
Rosenthal, known for his elite fastball velocity and ability to change speeds with ease during his six-year stint with the Cardinals, was very effective in 2017, posting a 3.40 ERA and 1.20 WHIP with 76 strikeouts and 20 walks, and he recorded 11 saves after stealing back the closer job from Seunghwan Oh at midseason. His command could be somewhat of a concern going forward; after issuing 3.57 walks per nine innings from 2012-15, he issued a much more alarming 5.01 walks per nine over his last two seasons in St. Louis.
His stuff is still extremely impressive, though, and aside from a rough 2016 season he’s always been very good at keeping runs off the board — he has a 2.99 ERA over 325 career innings. With the Nationals having torn up their bullpen a bit late in the season by trading Shawn Kelley, Ryan Madson, and Brandon Kintzler — and with Kelvin Herrera and Greg Holland hitting free agency — Rosenthal is a nice stabilizing piece in a bullpen that will need to be retooled in 2019. He’ll look to be as effective in bouncing back after a season lost to Tommy John as Holland was in 2017, when he reached the All-Star Game and led the National League in saves.