The Nationals have released reliever Trevor Rosenthal, a development that would have seemed stunning about six months ago, when the team signed the former Cardinals closer to a one-year deal with $7 million guaranteed, plus a $14 million vesting option for 2020.
Rosenthal, who reached the All-Star Game in 2015, had an absolutely disastrous tenure in a Nationals uniform, continuing to battle the command issues that he fought in 2016-17 before having Tommy John surgery and missing the entire 2018 season. Over 12 appearances with Washington — broken up by a suspicious six-week injured list stint for a viral infection that was quite obviously an attempt to get him straightened out in the minors — Rosenthal posted a 22.74 ERA with five strikeouts, 15 walks, three hit batters, and five wild pitches while lasting just 6.1 innings. Rosenthal had an embarrassing streak of futility to begin the season, going five appearances and facing 11 batters before recording an out, and he pretty much sealed his fate with a disastrous outing on Saturday night, walking three batters before being removed without retiring a single hitter. He was replaced by Tanner Rainey, who allowed all three inherited runners to score.
With Rosenthal’s track record, he figures to get another opportunity somewhere else if he so desires — his hometown Royals, who have one of the worst bullpens in baseball this season, figure to be a team with interest. Once he clears release waivers, any other team will be able to have him while paying him the major-league minimum, with the Nationals covering the rest of his salary.