The Giants announced to reporters, including Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area, that they have signed Trevor Rosenthal to a one-year, $4.5MM deal. John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle relays that there are performance bonuses worth $1MM based on games played. In a subsequent tweet, Shea provides details on the bonuses based on appearances, while adding that there’s a further $1MM available based on games finished. Rosenthal will receive $50K if he appears in 15 games and then again after his 18th game. He will received $150K after 23 games, $200K at 28, $250K at 33 and $300K at 38. As for games finished, it will be $100K for 12 games, $150K for 15, followed by $250K each after finishing 18, 21 and 24 games.
Rosenthal currently has a strained hamstring and is rehabbing in Arizona, per Pavlovic. He has been placed on the IL already and won’t require an active roster spot, per Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, who adds that the corresponding move to get Rosenthal on the 40-man roster is that Mauricio Llovera has been transferred to the 60-day injured list.
Rosenthal was one of the better relievers in baseball for many seasons but has been on a rollercoaster for the past few years. From 2012 to 2017, he appeared in 328 games with a 2.99 ERA, 31.2% strikeout rate and 10.3% walk rate. He racked up 121 saves and 46 holds in that time
Unfortunately, Tommy John surgery put a halt to that and wiped out his entire 2018 season. He returned in 2019 but walked a whopping 30.6% of batters faced over a stretch of 15 1/3 innings. After that disastrous return, he had to settle for a minor league deal with the Royals for 2020. He got the train back on the tracks so well that the Royals were able to flip him to the Padres at the deadline for Edward Olivares. Rosenthal finished the shortened season with a 1.90 ERA in 23 2/3 innings, with an incredible 41.8% strikeout rate.
Based on that comeback, Oakland signed him to a one-year, $11MM deal for the 2021 season. However, a groin strain kept him on the shelf at the beginning of the year, and he later required surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome, wiping out yet another entire season.
Rosenthal had a showcase over a month ago to show that he had returned to health. The Giants have evidently been impressed by his progress, based on the fact that they were willing to slap down a significant chunk of change despite Rosenthal currently being injured. On the one hand, Rosenthal is capable of being an elite reliever, but on the other hand, he’s thrown less than 40 total innings over the past five seasons.
The Giants have run into some bullpen issues this year, making it fairly understandable that they’re willing to look outside the box for answers. Most notably, Jake McGee, who saved 31 games for them last year, ran up a 7.17 ERA this year and got released last week. Overall, the club’s relievers have a 4.19 ERA, placing the club 23rd in the majors. If Rosenthal can get healthy, he can provide a boost for them down the stretch.
As for Llovera, he was just placed on the IL a few days ago due to a flexor strain. Based on today’s transfer, it seems the club doesn’t expect him to be able to return until mid-September at the earliest.