Royals sign Trevor Rosenthal to minor league deal

The Royals have signed hard-throwing right-hander Trevor Rosenthal to a minor league deal, per Lynn Worthy of the Kansas City Star.

The deal will pay the 29-year-old $2MM if he makes the team with an additional $2.25MM in performance bonuses, per Worthy. Additionally, Rosenthal will be a non-roster invite to MLB spring training.

Rosenthal famously endured one of the more disappointing 2019 seasons league-wide after signing for $8MM guaranteed with the eventual World Champion Washington Nationals. That the Nats had to come from so far behind in the standings was at least partially attributable to the complete backfiring of their offseason bullpen makeover, which was largely dependent on Rosenthal and Kyle Barraclough soaking up the 7th and 8th innings.

Neither pitcher ended the season with the Nats. Rosenthal ended in DC with a 22.74 ERA across 12 appearances before signing a minor league deal with the Tigers. The Tigers released him after 10 ML appearances with a 7.00 ERA, after which he signed another minor league deal with the Yankees to finish out the year.

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Rosenthal will be reunited in Kansas City with new Royals manager Mike Matheny, who was the manager in St. Louis during his best seasons.

Rosenthal has a 3.45 ERA with 121 saves in seven big league seasons.

He also was part of the 2013 Cardinals team that lost to the Boston Red Sox in the World Series.

The 29-year-old Rosenthal was dismal with the Detroit Tigers and Washington Nationals last season, going 0-1 with a 13.50 ERA in 22 appearances. It was a far cry from his 2015 form, when Rosenthal had a 2.10 ERA and 48 saves while helping the St. Louis Cardinals to a 100-win season and the NL Central title.

Rosenthal features a fastball in the high-90s, occasionally hitting triple digits, along with a slider.

The Tommy John surgery hasn’t hurt his velocity, but his walk rates, which were occasionally very high in his prime with St. Louis, have been awful since his return. But Rosenthal is on the right side of 30 and another year removed from his surgery could yield much better results.

A minor league deal is a very low-risk deal that allows the Royals to assess his health and command in spring training, and if he’s healthy, he could become a late inning reliever that could be quite valuable at the trade deadline.

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