Nationals Baseball: Redux and Rosenthal

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Redux and Rosenthal

I keep forgetting that something obvious to me, who is here everyday for too many year, is not obvious to everyone, especially ones that may be just picking up a post here and there.  So as a quick reminder - the Out of Box plan is NOT to be taken seriously.

Here is my post last year on this subject of what these reviews are.

OK on to Trevor Rosenthal

For those unfamiliar with his oeuvre, Rosenthal as been a quality reliever for the Cardinals since 2012. He's a high strike out guy (12.0 K/9 for his career) who is not very hittable (7.8 H/9) and not prone to the long ball (0.5 HR/9).  His bugaboo is the walk as he is a little wild (4.0 BB/9). He had some issues in 2016, which cost him his closer role* but other wise he was an All-Star caliber arm through 2017.

What about 2018? Oh yeah - he didn't pitch.  In 2016 he had some shoulder issues and an in-hindsight completely telling flexor strain and pitched 2/3rds of a season. Feeling good with Oh in the closer role the Cardinals decided "Hey why don't we take this closer for the past 5 seasons and stretch him back into a starter!" Smart move, Lilliquist. Wait a second. That name sounds familiar. Anyway they didn't follow through with it and after toying with it a little in Spring gave up. A lat strain cost him a few games to start the season, occasional arm "soreness" would have him miss a game or two until finally the arm came tumbling down in mid August. The UCL needed replacement and TJ was done at the very end of the month. 

Rosenthal was cut by the Cardinals and remained a free agent through his recovery. He had a showcase right after the season was done and that's where we stand now.

It's hard to say exactly what Rosenthal is right now because of that injury. Whatver issues that sprang up in 2016 and 2017 could easily be the fault of the elbow injury and thus aren't telling us anything. At the same time 2015 is a long time to look back and try to draw a straight line from.  I can tell you what you want to see - a pitcher approaching 100 MPH. Rosenthal is a fast ball pitcher and if his fastball isn't elite anymore then I'm not sure he's worth a gamble. You'd also like to see a solid slider. But these are things we have to wait til Spring to see. Presumably the teams have that info.

The Nats are supposedly promising him 7M total - 6 million for next year, with incentives that can pay up to 14 million and a vesting option for 15 million if he hits targets of 50 games appeared, or 30 games finished, with a 1 million buy out.

What does this all mean
1) The Nats have a pretty good bead that Rosenthal is healthy and decent. 7 million is a lot to spend on a pitcher that's just a lottery ticket
2) The Nats have already spent their big money on relief pitching. Since his salary can get up to 14 million the payroll has to be budgetted that way. So if you are expecting another shiny new relief arm, I'd forget it
3) The Nats are setting up salary expectations quickly which bodes well for a big contract coming. Though that could be Bryce, a starter, or something totally unexpected.

Assuming the Nats are right and Rosenthal is good to go - this is a great signing. But I can't give a real opinion until I see him at least a few times in the Spring. Right now it's a black box.

*He led the majors in saves in 2014-15


JE34 said...

Heh. I clicked the link to last years "a little clarification" post and my eye was immediately drawn to the words "So I don't want JD Martinez." COME ON HARPER ;-)

So at this moment, this means the 2019 pen is currently Doolittle, Rosenthal, Barraclough, Grace, Miller, Glover, and Solis. Do I have this right? I have to believe that at least the last of these names will change before opening day.

SuburubanSteve said...

If it's one thing I trust Rizzo with the most, it's scouting. I think/hope he sees a healthy, rebounding Rosenthal and made his move early. I like it

Anonymous said...

I think it has to be Suero over Solis, but assuming health,the others look right to me. I still think they should add a LH specialist.

G Cracka X said...

@JE34 Yes, I noticed the same thing!

@Anon agreed. It'd be nice to see them get a LOOGY and I think the bullpen should be relatively set after that

blovy8 said...

And at least Suero is a quality option (in Fresno?) when someone gets hurt. Or gets hurt and doesn't tell anyone, which I think we can assume will happen. Again.

Jon Quimby said...

Is there a site somewhere that displays the roster with "options left" as a column? I'm reading Grace, Glover, and Solis and wondering if they're all out of options.

Harper said...

JE34 - They can't all be winners

G Cracka X said...

@Jon Glover should still have at least one option left, no?

blovy8 said...

Glover's been on the 25-man roster three years, that's usually all you get, so I think he's out of options.

DezoPenguin said...

So right now the bullpen consists of Doolittle, Rosenthal, Barraclough, Glover, Miller, and any 2 of Grace/Suero/Solis/Rodriguez (depending on whether you think of Rodriguez as a long reliever/spot starter or as SP6/7)?

That's not...bad, though it has a lot of variability (Doolittle's recurrent injury issues, Rosenthal's return from TJ, Barraclough's major slump in the second half, Glover's recurrent injury issues), and everybody else being more "probably adequate with an upside of good and a downside of awful" instead of "probably good with an upside of great and a downside of adequate" like I'd like.

Unfortunately, Harper's right about the money--I can't see them adding any more RPs unless it's a bargain-bin kind of deal, not when the rotation and catcher are major issues (and the Bryce thing is still floating around).

On the other hand, yeah, they have to have substantial confidence that Rosenthal is right medically if they're throwing that much money at him. Move quickly and get the guy they want instead of twiddling their thumbs hoping they'll still be there when prices start to fall, that's definitely the right choice if Rizzo wants to have a real run at the division and the pennant next year.

Bote Man said...

Trouble with the oeuvre.

G Cracka X said...

Harper, correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't minor league options based on how many times you've been 'optioned', not how many years you've been on the 25-man?

Anonymous said...

Glover joined the team in 2016 and I believed renained on the roster until being placed on the DL. I am also not sure he was ever optioned to the minors in 2017. Last season, he was definitely optioned to Syracuse. Even though he started on the DL, he wasn't immediately called up when his rehab ended. I would guess he has one and potentially two options left.