No. 5 – Trevor Rosenthal – Reliever
The St. Louis Cardinals had an All-Star caliber closer that had two straight seasons of 45 or more saves (2014-2015) but that all disappeared in 2016. Trevor Rosenthal went from being one of the most dominant closers in all of baseball to being an arm only capable of pitching in low-stress situations.
Rosenthal is feeling the pressure this season because he truly has no role at the moment. The closer position went to Seung-hwan Oh after he proved to be more than capable of pitching in high stress games and the set-up type roles are filled by guys like Kevin Siegrist, Brett Cecil, and Jonathan Broxton. Now, Rosenthal could be a set-up arm while one of those guys becomes a middle innings reliever, but can he be trusted to keep games close late in the game?
The other reason Rosenthal doesn’t have a role is because the St. Louis Cardinals have flat out stated he doesn’t. If he had a role on this team then they wouldn’t be experimenting with him as a starter and stretching his innings out. The purpose of that is in hopes he can prove to be a multi-inning reliever but this experiment’s purpose is to find him a role.
Rosenthal is also feeling a lot of pressure because his value has gone down severely. In a time where élite closers like Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen, and Mark Melancon are making north of $60 million dollar contracts, Rosenthal surely feels he could have been in those discussions before his downfall. Now, however, he’s just another middle reliever that posted an ERA over 4.00.
Hopefully Rosenthal does come out and prove something in 2017. Whether it be his return to closing and high pressure situations or his growth into a starter or super-reliever, he needs to return to dominance and the Cardinals need that.