Padres: Three reasons to extend Trevor Rosenthal this offseason

(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

One of the more underrated moves that the Padres made at the trade deadline was acquiring Trevor Rosenthal. And they need to extend him this offseason.

Regarding the Padres‘ moves at the trade deadline, the center of attention was the blockbuster centered around Mike Clevinger. The 29-year-old gives the Friars a true ace for hopefully another two seasons. We’ll see if he’s healthy enough to pitch in 2021 after prematurely ending his 2020 season with an elbow sprain.

But the acquisition of Trevor Rosenthal was a move that didn’t get enough attention. General manager AJ Preller sent Edward Olivares and Ronald Bolanos to the Royals to complete the deal. The former got a decent look for the Padres this season, but long-term, he really didn’t have a place to play. And Bolanos was optioned to Kansas City’s alternate training site after being roughed up in an August 1 start against the White Sox.

Rosenthal was found in the 21st round of the 2009 MLB, coming up through the St. Louis Cardinals organization. He collected only four saves for the Padres after coming over, and while he’ll be a free agent this offseason, San Diego needs to re-sign him. And here’s why.

1. Age on his side

It feels like I’ve been hearing Rosenthal’s name for quite some time now. It’s hard to believe that he’s only 30 years old. For reference, the Padres claimed Kirby Yates off waivers at 30, and he went on to have a career resurgence. Look around the league at the players atop the leaderboard in saves this year and their respective ages. Brad Hand (30), Liam Hendriks (31), Ryan Pressly (31), Alex Colome (31), Brandon Kintzler (36), Trevor Rosenthal…30.

And out of these names mentioned, the Padres closer has by far the least amount of mileage on his arm.

  • Hand: 608.2 IP
  • Hendriks: 516.1 IP
  • Pressly: 415.2 IP
  • Colome: 424.0 IP
  • Kintzler: 448.2 IP
  • Rosenthal: 364.0 IP

AJ Preller could comfortably give Rosenthal a three-year deal without having to worry about a significant dropoff.

2. Positive impact on bullpen

What if I told you that Trevor Rosenthal’s presence positively impacted the entire Padres bullpen? Remember when everyone said that San Diego’s bullpen would be untouchable before the regular season began? Yes, well prior to Rosenthal’s arrival on August 31, the Padres bullpen, as a group, had a 5.02 ERA. After? 3.08 ERA, which was good for third-best in baseball.

With Kirby Yates likely out of the picture next season, Rosenthal would be a perfect re-sign to slot into the back-end of the bullpen while having Emilio Pagan and Drew Pomeranz as the set-up men.

3. Pretty darn good

How about the fact that Rosenthal is a pretty darn good closer? Prior to coming over to San Diego, Rosenthal was a perfect 7-for-7 in saves. With the Padres, he converted 4-of-5, and the lone save he blew, he ended up getting the win after pitching 2.0 innings. And he’s no stranger to being in high-pressure situations, having tallied 45 and 48 saves with the Cardinals in 2014 and 2015, respectively.

Rosenthal put up some of the best numbers of his career in the shortened season. Per Baseball Savant, he logged a .132 XBA, .265 XSLG, and 41.8 strikeout percent-all within the top 1 percent of the league. His fastball yielded a .154 batting average, which was a noticeable improvement from .241 last season.

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The 30-year-old also features a devastating slider that produced a .157 average. And while he doesn’t throw it as often, Rosenthal didn’t allow any hits on his changeup. His pitching arsenal is excellent.