The Tigers are in talks with right-hander Trevor Rosenthal about a minor league deal, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports (Twitter links). Rosenthal was released by the Nationals earlier this week, though now appears to be closing in on a new destination.
There’s no real risk to the move from Detroit’s perspective, as the Tigers would only owe Rosenthal a minimum MLB salary if he reaches the Major League roster, as the Nats are still on the hook for the rest of the approximately $3.7MM owed to the righty for the remainder of the season. The Tigers are in need of help for their struggling bullpen anyway, and if the best-case scenario occurs and Rosenthal rediscovers his old form, he could potentially close games for the team if current ninth-inning man Shane Greene is dealt at the trade deadline.
After missing all of 2018 recovering from Tommy John surgery, Rosenthal inked a one-year, $7MM contract with Washington in the offseason. Rather than making a triumphant return to the mound, however, Rosenthal instead struggled mightily, posting a whopping 22.74 ERA over only 6 1/3 innings. Rosenthal’s stint with the Nats was shortened by a five-week injured list absence due to a viral infection, yet both before and after his IL stint, the veteran reliever’s control was non-existent — Rosenthal recorded an astounding 15 walks over his 6 1/3 frames.
While Rosenthal had his share of (much less horrific) control problems even in his heyday with the Cardinals, he isn’t far removed from being a dangerous bullpen weapon. The hard-throwing right-hander had a 3.13 ERA, 12.0 K/9, and 2.6 K/BB rate over 227 IP from 2014-17, including a 45-save season in 2014 and a 48-save performance in 2015.