For several months, Trevor Rosenthal appeared to be stabilizing force in the Cardinals bullpen. Now, his season is over. Placed on the 10-day disabled list after his game on August 16, he has been visiting doctors. Those visits have not brought good news. He’s been transferred to the 60-day disabled list to free up a spot on the 40-man for Ryan Sherriff, who has been called up to replace Josh Lucas, who has been returned to the minors.
On August 15, Rosenthal had a 1.81 FIP, a 3.02 ERA and struck out 38% of batters. He took over for Seung-Hwan Oh as closer and the bullpen seemed to take shape. On August 16, Rosenthal came in with a 4-2 lead, but he gave up a homer and a walk against the Red Sox in a game the Cardinals would lose 5-4. His velocity was down and he hit the 10-day disabled list. After an initial consultation and a second opinion, his season, and potentially his Cardinals career is over.
Rosenthal is making $6.4 million this season and if the Cardinals offered him a contract through arbitration next season, he would likely make at least that much and not less than 80% of that salary. If the worst is confirmed for Rosenthal, and he needs Tommy John surgery, he likely wouldn’t be ready to pitch until the end of next season. It’s possible the Cardinals could work out a two year deal that recognizes the potential lack of contributions for next season, but that doesn’t seem likely.
This injury is likely to increase the criticism for not trading Rosenthal, either at the deadline or in previous seasons given there is always demand for a good reliever like Rosenthal and relievers are constantly getting hurt and becoming ineffective, potentially reducing their value. The Cardinals chose to hang on to Rosenthal, and it almost seemed like it was paying off as the Cardinals have fought their way back into the race. While the news about Rosenthal isn’t necessarily surprising, it does confirm that the Cardinals will be quite deficient in the bullpen.
Taking Rosenthal’s place on the 40-man roster is Ryan Sherriff. The 27-year-old lefty will be making his debut. He doesn’t strike out a lot of batters, but does induce a lot of ground balls. Against 86 lefties this season, he has struck out 27 against just two walks.
Josh Lucas pitched in just two games, striking out five and walking one in four innings, but also giving up two homers and three runs.