Trevor Rosenthal

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Trevor Jordan Rosenthal

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Biographical Information[edit]

Pitcher Trevor Rosenthal reached the majors with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2012.

Rosenthal was taken by the Cardinals in the 21st round of the 2009 amateur draft and began his pro career that summer with the GCL Cardinals, leading the team with 4 wins. He only lost one game and struck out 26 in 24 innings but also walked 10 and had a 4.88 ERA. He was with the Johnson City Cardinals the next year, going 3-0 with a 2.25 ERA and a save in 10 outings. His control was much better, with just 7 walks in 32 innings. He was with the Quad Cities River Bandits in 2011, and after going 7-7 with a 4.11 ERA in 22 starts, he was 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA in the postseason and was the winning pitcher in the Midwest League Championship game. He was 6th in the Midwest League in strikeouts (133).

Rosenthal began 2012 with the AA Springfield Cardinals and was 8-6 with a 2.78 ERA and .202 opponent average in his first 17 starts, tied for second in the Texas League in wins behind Barret Loux. He was then called up to the bigs.


He made his major league debut against the Milwaukee Brewers on July 18, 2012, relieving Adam Wainwright with a 4-2 deficit against the Milwaukee Brewers in the 8th inning. He walked Nyjer Morgan and allowed an Aramis Ramirez single. He recovered to fan Corey Hart and get Rickie Weeks on a liner but walked Martin Maldonado to load the bags before whiffing Carlos Gómez to escape the jam without any damage. He put up a 2.78 ERA in 19 games that season, going 0-2. He also did not give up any runs in 8 2/3 innings in the postseason. In 2013, he spent a first full season in the majors, pitching 74 times with a record of 2-4, 2.63 and his first 3 career saves. He struck out 108 in 75 1/3 innings as he flashed some outstanding stuff. The Cards made it to the World Series that year, with Trevor seeing action as the main closer option. He saved 4 games and received credit for a win (in Game 3 of the World Series against the Boston Red Sox) in 10 appearances, he pitched 11 2/3 innings and did not give up a run, although he did allow an inherited runner to score in the game he won, putting him in line to get credit for the win when the Cardinals scored.

In 2014, he became the Cardinals' full-time closer and wen 2-6, 3.20 with 45 saves. His strikeout rate fell slightly, to 87 in 70 1/3 innings, but otherwise it was another excellent season. He did give up his first two postseason runs that year as St. Louis was eliminated in the NLCS by the San Francisco Giants. In 2015, the Cardinals put up the best record in the majors thanks to some truly dominant pitching. Rosenthal was an important part of that equation as he went 2-4, 2.10 and saved 48 games in 68 appearances. He was named to the All-Star team for the first time. His K rate continued to fall, as he struck out 83 in 68 2/3 innings. St. Louis was ambushed by the rising Chicago Cubs in the Division Series however. Trevor pitched twice, closing out a win in Game 1 in what was not a save situation and then adding a scoreless inning in Game 4 when the Cards were trailing 6-4 and on the verge of elimination. He was still the Cardinals' closer when the 2016 season opened, but things did not go well that year. He was 2-4, 4.46 in 45 games and compiled only 14 saves, eventually losing the closer's job to South Korean import Seung-hwan Oh. His strikeout rate picked up again, with 56 in 40 1/3 innings, but he gave up over a hit per inning for the first time, and his walk rate also jumped to over 6 per 9 innings, a very high total for a short reliever. He spent six weeks on the disabled list starting in latte July with inflammation in his shoulder and the Cardinals missed the postseason for the first time since he had joined the team.

In spring training in 2017, the Cardinals were looking for a different role for Trevor, more specifically as a long reliever or even as a starter, given the team had bigger needs in those roles than in the back of its bullpen. However, the struggles of Seung-hwan Oh meant that Trevor was back closing by late July, after having spent the previous months in middle relief. From July 28 to August 12th, he recorded saves in 7 straight appearances, but struggled badly with his control in his next outing against the Boston Red Sox on August 16th and was removed without having retired a batter. It turned out to be his last appearance of the year, as he went on the disabled list immediately afterwards, then was transferred to the 60-day DL as the Cards announced on August 23rd that he would need to undergo Tommy John surgery. He ended the year at 3-4, 3.40 with 11 saves in 50 appearances, with 76 strikeouts in 47 2/3 innings.

Rosenthal missed the entire 2018 season recovering from the surgery. A free agent at the end of the year, he became the first of the category to change teams as on November 3rd, he signed a one-year deal with the Washington Nationals guaranteeing him $7 million in salary, with another $8 million in potential bonuses. He started off his career with the Nats on the wrong foot in early 2019, however, as he allowed at least one earned run in each of his first three outings - without recording an out in any of them. Worse, his final game for the Cards before his injury in 2017 had been similar, giving him a streak of four such games. No pitcher since at least 1908 had ever done this, the unenviable record being three games, shared by 7 pitchers. To make things even worse, the most earned runs allowed by one of these had been 5, by Taylor Tankersley and Chris Hammond, while Trevor had given up 9 in his four games! He finally managed to record an out on April 10th, when he entered a game in the 9th inning with Washington holding a 15-0 lead over the Philadelphia Phillies­. He walked the first batter he faced, Rhys Hoskins, but then struck out Andrew Knapp. He did give up a run before the inning ended, but his ERA was now no longer infinite, but 72.00. On April 26th, he was placed on the injured list with a viral infection, then was sent to West Palm Beach, FL for extended spring training. He came back on June 10th, and he started off with a couple of scoreless outings of an inning each, but then walked 5 batters over the next inning and a third over three games, including an outing against the Atlanta Braves on June 22nd during which he walked all three batters he faced, and they all eventually came in to score. He was handed his release the following day, with his ERA at 22.74 in 12 games. The Detroit Tigers then signed him to a minor league contract on June 29th. After a couple of weeks with the Toledo Mud Hens in which he was not so convincing, giving up 6 runs on 8 hits in 5 1/3 innings, he was still brought up to Detroit. He pitched 10 times with the Tigers with no decisions and an ERA of 7.00, to givre him an ERA of 13.50 on the season. The New York Yankees also gave him a look late in the year, but he did not pitch for them at the major league level.

Rosenthal somehow managed to bounce back from that nightmarish season after signing as a free agent with the Kansas City Royals on January 13, 2020. He not only made the team when the delayed season finally started in late July, but he pitched quite well. He was able to re-establish himself as a major league closer, as after 13 games, he had a 1.46 ERA and 7 saves, with 17 strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings. He was now mentioned as a potential acquisition by a contending team for the upcoming trading deadline. That is exactly what happened on August 29th, when he was sent to the San Diego Padres in exchange for Edward Olivares and a player to be named later (Dylan Coleman). For San Diego, he pitched in 9 more games, going 1-0, with 4 saves and a virgin ERA in 10 innings. Overall, on the season, his ERA was 1.90 in 23 2/3 innings, and he picked up 11 saves while striking out 38 batters. In the postseason, he gave up 2 runs in 3 innings but still registered one save as the Padres defeated the Cardinals in the Wild Card Series, but he was then rocked for 4 runs in just one inning in his sole appearance of the Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He became a free agent again after the season, and his flashes of greatness the previous year made him a tantalizing option for a team willing to place a bet. He signed a one-year deal with the Oakland Athletics on February 22, 2021, shortly after their own relief ace, Liam Hendriks, had left via free agency himself. However, he did not pitch at all for the A's after undergoing two surgeries, one of the thoracic outlet syndrome in April, and another for a torn hip labrum in July.

He signed his next contract on July 21, 2022, a $4.5 million one-year deal with the San Francisco Giants, although the Giants said he was several weeks away from helping the team as he currently had a hamstring strain, and would then need to work himself into game shape. Indeed, he had yet to appear in a game for them when on August 2nd, he was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers in return for OF Tristan Peters.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • NL All-Star (2015)
  • 30 Saves Seasons: 2 (2014 & 2015)
  • 40 Saves Seasons: 2 (2014 & 2015)

Further Reading[edit]

  • Mike Petriello: "23 innings might make him a top-tier reliever",, January 27, 2021. [1]
  • Andrew Simon: "Closer to starter a rare move for pitchers: Cards righty Rosenthal attempting the sort of transition that few have mastered",, March 15, 2017. [2]

Related Sites[edit]