The Dodgers have addressed their bullpen more than any other part of the team so far this offseason. They’ve added Garrett Cleavinger and Corey Knebel, re-signed Blake Treinen and have added Tommy Kahnle for next season. Even still, they’ve been rumored to be interested in more relievers.
They were interested in Ryne Stanek and Kirby Yates before they signed elsewhere. They’ve long been rumored to be interested in Brad Hand. David Vassegh of Dodger Talk dropped another name the Dodgers might be interested out of the bullpen — Trevor Rosenthal, the correct Trevor to be interested in.
Rosenthal, 30, is coming off a fantastic 2020 season that saw him post a 1.90 ERA, 2.22 FIP and a 33.0 K-BB% for the Royals and Padres. He bounced back nicely after a horrid 2019 season that had him coming back from Tommy John surgery. He was a bullpen fixture for the Cardinals from 2012 through 2017, but his ’17 was cut short because of that torn UCL. The Cards ended up releasing him. He latched on with the Nationals and Tigers in that disastrous ’19 campaign. And while the ’20 season was just a 23 2/3-inning sample size, he looked as good as he ever has.
The fastball-heavy pitcher average 97.9 MPH on it, fourth-highest of any (qualified) reliever in 2020. He threw it 71.1% of the time, 15th-most frequent among relievers. When I wrote about the Dodgers’ interest in Yates, I pointed out they have been looking for relievers who have at least one above-average-to-elite-level pitch, and Rosenthal’s fastball meets that criteria.
He has a lot of red on his ledger, which is good.
This shows he didn’t get particularly lucky with his results. He was able to limit damage against him, which his expected statistics said he would. And that’s even with giving up some hard contact. That isn’t a staple of Dodger pitchers, but it is also pitches can learn to limit.
Rosenthal backs up his fastball with a high-80s slider that has, historically, been a good pitch for him. He also has a changeup that has been even better than his slider. I suspect the Dodgers would get him to throw his it more if he were signed, as, even before his injury, his usage on the pitch declined the three previous seasons. His slider is more of a weapon against righties, while the changeup is almost exclusive for left-handed hitters.
Here he is in action.
Trevor Rosenthal, 102mph 🔥 and velo check. pic.twitter.com/EHksFJD8Fd— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) October 1, 2020
Bottom line is, Rosenthal has late-inning, high-leverage experience. Since they didn’t sign Liam Hendriks or Yates and have been hesitant to pull the trigger on Hand, adding another risky late-inning option might make some sense. A quartet of Kenley Jansen, Knebel, Rosenthal and Treinen could probably handle the late-inning duties, rather than having just one of them be that guy. There’s also a chance they stand pat in the bullpen until the trade deadline, if necessary.