The Cardinals have granted right-hander Trevor Rosenthal his unconditional release, per MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch (on Twitter). Rosenthal was eligible for arbitration this offseason but underwent Tommy John surgery this summer and is likely to miss the majority, if not all of the 2018 season as a result.
The 27-year-old Rosenthal went under the knife late in August, making it unlikely that he’ll be able to contribute next season. Even in the unlikely event that Rosenthal had made it back for the tail end of the 2018 season, MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz had projected a $7.9MM salary, which would be far more than any club would be willing to pay given the amount of the season he’ll miss.
Rosenthal and agent Scott Boras will have to weigh multiple options this winter in free agency. When faced with a similar situation, Boras and client Greg Holland opted not to sign at all in the 2015-16 offseason, instead waiting until Holland was completely healed in the 2016-17 offseason and signing a one-year deal with a player option. That route certainly comes with more earning power, though all players have different preferences.
Alternatively, Rosenthal may well wish to find the security that someone like Nathan Eovaldi received last offseason, signing a one-year MLB deal with the Rays that contained a cheap club option for the 2018 campaign. While Eovaldi will “only” earn about $4MM over the 2017-18 seasons, he’s now had a full year to familiarize himself with his new organization and locked in some guaranteed money in the process.
Rosenthal could go either route, though the Holland route leaves him exposed to the possibility of lingering complications from his surgery ultimately preventing him from coming away from the ordeal with any guaranteed money. Regardless, interest in Rosenthal this winter should be robust, as teams look to buy low on the possibility of adding a high-caliber arm to their bullpen for the 2019 campaign once he has (hopefully) recovered from the ligament replacement procedure.