Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Is Trevor Rosenthal now pigeonholed as a reliever?

Bernie Miklasz had an interesting article today discussing the possibility of the Cardinals trading for Cliff Lee (something that I already discussed here).  While an interesting analysis and one that reached the same conclusion as I did (we don't need Lee), what really caught my eye was his discussion of the 2014 starting pitching logjam.

Here's what Bernie had to say about the Cardinals glut of starting pitching for 2014:
Looking beyond 2013, Lee could slide into the Westbrook slot for 2014 because Westbrook becomes a free agent after this year. But with Lee in the mix, that would still leave the Cardinals with Wainwright, Lee, Lynn, Miller, Wacha, Martinez, Kelly. Let's not leave Seth Maness off the list; the Cardinals like him a lot. And there’s also Jaime Garcia, who should rehab his rotator cuff in time to pitch at some point in 2014. You can throw Lyons into the mix, too. And other potential starters will likely emerge from the system. We’ve already mentioned at least nine or 10 starting-pitcher entries for 2014 and beyond.
Yes, he mentioned 9 or 10 starting pitchers, but nowhere does he mention Trevor Rosenthal.

Is it already a forgone conclusion that Rosenthal will remain a reliever for 2014 and beyond?

Heading into this spring, there was suppose to be a 3-man battle for the 5th starter spot between Shelby Miller, Joe Kelly and Trevor Rosenthal.  However, Rosenthal was only given a token chance, as he was only given one start before he was moved to the bullpen.

Next spring, with Jake Westbrook likely becoming a free agent and Jaime Garcia's availability at the start of the season up in the air, there will likely be two spots open.  Will Rosenthal even be part of that battle?

It seems unlikely, as the Cardinals should have Michael Wacha, John Gast, Carlos Martinez, Joe Kelly, Seth Maness and Tyler Lyons all battling for those two spots, making the need to use Rosenthal as a starter uneccessary.

Normally I'm opposed to relegating a top arm to the bullpen when he can be much more valuable as a starting pitcher.  However, in this case, it probably makes the most sense.  Edward Mujica will likely be gone via free agency and with the struggles of Mitchell Boggs and Jason Motte recovering from Tommy John surgery, the Cardinals will likely need Rosenthal to be the 9th inning guy.

It just would have been nice if he had been given a chance as a starter first, because now we'll never know what we might be missing.


  1. 2014, I would like to see Rosenthal in the considerations of a starting role vs. that of Kelly. Joe gives up way too much before he settles in. And if he's rattled! We are sunk. But our relievers are just as important to hold or save a game. To think that Rosenthal would be thrown into a closing position ... NOT. And why would the Cardianls let Mujica walk? He definitely is proving himself worthy in the closing role with 20-0 in twenty appearances. Hopefully Motte will return to his great status next season and between the two ... Mujica and himself, would be a great closing pair. Maybe Rosenthal, but his potential leans more towards starting. But as a closer, just don't see it. Every player is different, and confidence comes with that. But the Cardinals saw what happen throwing a proven reliever into the closing role. I don't know if Boggs will ever recover from the ill effects of such a decision...even to return to his strong status as a reliever. But...I would be amazed, and would be highly disappointed, if the Cardinals let Mujica go. Now, that would be crazy!!

  2. To have a horse with 3 great pitches like Rosenthal and keep him in the pen while Westbrook and Kelly get starts is pretty crazy. I'd peddle Westbrook to the Rangers for a top-notch set up guy and get Rosenthal and Martinez in the rotation if I were the Cards GM. Kelly makes sense as a long man, double header fill-in and injury fill-in.