This move has been expected for a couple of days now, but Rosenthal is officially on his way to Toledo to join the Mud Hens. Adding Rosenthal is a nice no-risk move for the Tigers, who are going nowhere fast this season and therefore have a longer leash to give Rosenthal.
He still has electric stuff, but in his first game action since missing all of 2018, the former Cardinals closer has shown a complete inability to direct his high-90s heater. The inefficiency of his performance in Washington – to be kind – has been well-documented, but it’s still staggering to see: -1.0 rWAR in 6 1/3 innings, 22.74 ERA (10.13 FIP), 21.3 BB/9, 0.33 BB/K, and of course, he did not record an out until his 5th appearance of the season. Rosenthal carries a disproportionately large share of the Nationals bullpen struggles, as even their recent bullpen blowup against the Braves – pegged as a ’here-we-go-again’ moment in DC – can be laid at Rosenthal’s feet (Joe Ross burdens a smidgen of the blame as well).
Despite this unimaginably bad start, he will have some time to get himself back on track out of the national spotlight. Given that the Nationals are on the hook for all but the minimum, the Tigers really have nothing to lose by giving Rosenthal more reps in the minors. Again, he’s still averaging 98 mph on his fastball, and if Rosenthal can to snap back to form, his live arm still plays as a late-in-games weapon.