St. Louis Cardinals: Trevor Rosenthal granted unconditional release

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 16: Trevor Rosenthal
BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 16: Trevor Rosenthal /

After giving starting pitcher Lance Lynn a qualifying offer, the St. Louis Cardinals released Trevor Rosenthal Monday afternoon.

Unfortunately, what seemed inevitable actually happened for the St. Louis Cardinals and Trevor Rosenthal. The baseball world learned Monday afternoon, the team released the relief pitcher after six years with the Cardinals. Rosenthal will now spend the rest of 2018 without a team in hopes of returning to action for the 2019 season.

The St. Louis Cardinals also out-righted infielder Alex Mejia and Alberto Rosario off of the 40-man roster in today’s transactions. However, much of the focus will be on the release of Rosenthal over the next couple of days. His untimely injury in the 2017 season most likely led the Cardinals to this decision.

Rosenthal was eligible for one more year of arbitration before becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2019. It only seemed logical to the St. Louis Cardinals to be rid of any contract money in hopes to land a bigger fish off the free agent market to be the closer. Had Rosenthal stayed healthy, he would have been one of the top players most likely to receive an extension with the team.

However, now with the uncertainty of rehab from Tommy John surgery, Rosenthal now faces a steep hill to come back healthy and prove he can pitch again in 2019. I’ll speak for myself on this one, but if there is one person I know who will fight back from adversity, I’d be glad to put my money on Rosenthal. With as many problems he has had over the years, Rosenthal was a dominant pitcher and showed some big strides in 2017.

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In 2017, Rosenthal finished with a 3-4 record with a 3.40 ERA, a 2.17 FIP, and eleven saves. He struck out seventy-six batters in 47.2 innings pitched this last season as well.

Perhaps his most memorable moment of the season was on July 28th against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Rosenthal entered the game with the bases loaded in the eighth inning with no outs while the St. Louis Cardinals held on to a 1-0 lead.  Over the next six outs, Rosenthal slammed the door shut by striking out four of six batters.

It was the most dominant I have ever seen Rosenthal. It certainly came at the right time for the St. Louis Cardinals too, as they began their playoff push. However, just  two weeks later, Cardinal Nation learned Tommy John surgery would end his 2017 campaign.

If 2017 was the last time we saw Trevor Rosenthal pitch for the Redbirds, he finishes his career with a 11-24 record with a ERA of 2.99, a 2.60 FIP, and 121 saves over his six years in St. Louis. His career saves ranks him fifth all-time just six saves shy of the great Bruce Sutter. Jason Isringhausen has the all-time mark of 217 saves with the team.

Next: Either/or series, part two

I wish nothing but the best of luck to Rosenthal in his rehab. I hope if his rehab goes well, the Cardinals would consider taking a look at him for the future.