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Why haven’t the Cubs signed this guy yet, Part 7: Trevor Rosenthal

Here is someone who could really help the Cubs pen.

Photo by Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty Images

I’m reviving this (semi) popular series (the last one, almost a month ago, was about Jeremy Jeffress) because I saw this tweet @ me Monday:

Well. “Impact name” aside, Trevor Rosenthal was a lights-out closer for the Cardinals in 2014 and 2015 before he began to run into elbow trouble in 2016. It got bad enough that he was shut down in August 2017 and had Tommy John surgery that month.

Rosenthal missed the entire 2018 season and then was ridiculously bad in 2019, splitting his year between the Nationals and Tigers. In 22 appearances covering 15⅓ innings, he issued 26 walks — that’s 15.3 per nine innings — and posted a 13.50 ERA and 2.413 WHIP. You could have been forgiven if you thought he was done.

He signed with the Royals and threw well enough for them — 3.29 ERA, 1.171 WHIP, 13.8 strikeout/nine innings ratio — that they were able to trade him to the Padres for Edward Olivares and prospect Dylan Coleman in August.

And then Rosenthal was lights-out down the stretch for San Diego. Nine outings, 10 innings, only four baserunners (three hits, one walk) and 17 strikeouts. Overall he posted a 1.90 ERA, 0.845 WHIP and 11 saves in 12 appearances in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. (He did get lit up in the postseason by both the Cardinals and Dodgers, though.)

Per Fangraphs, Rosenthal is still throwing a 98 mile per hour fastball. In 2020, he also developed a slider for the first time and averages 87.6 miles per hour on that, almost the speed of a Kyle Hendricks fastball.

The most Rosenthal has ever made in a season is $7 million. That was a one-year free-agent deal the Nationals signed him to before 2019. (And you think the Cubs sign bad contracts — that was a really bad deal for the Nats, who released him in June 2019.) He’ll turn 31 in May and would likely be cheaper than, say, David Robertson.

There’s a report out that the Mets are interested in Rosenthal:

The Cubs should grab him now.

Here’s what I would offer: $2.5 million base, then incentives for games finished up to 50 (meaning he’d be closing) that would make it a $5 million deal, and a mutual option for 2022 for $7 million with a $500,000 buyout. He’s got significant closing experience and could take over if Craig Kimbrel gets hurt or is bad again.

Who says no?


Trevor Rosenthal...

This poll is closed

  • 70%
    ... should be signed by the Cubs at the terms noted in the article
    (260 votes)
  • 15%
    ... should be signed by the Cubs, but for different terms (leave in comments)
    (59 votes)
  • 13%
    ... should not be signed by the Cubs
    (50 votes)
369 votes total Vote Now