Former MLB relief pitcher Trevor Rosenthal is reportedly interested in making a return to major league action, and with the Blue Jays in the hunt for some of the game's top players available, this could be a quietly good way to deepen the bullpen; even on a minor league deal.
The 33-year-old righty made his major league debut in 2012 with the St. Louis Cardinals, where he spent six seasons as a high-leverage reliever and shined with a 130 ERA+ and a K/9 of 12 over his Cardinals career.
Rosenthal missed the 2018 season and returned with a poor performance in 2019 which he split between the Washington Nationals and Detroit Tigers, combining for a 36 ERA+ in 22 total appearances. Though a bounce back campaign in 2020 left plenty of promise when he dazzled with a 237 ERA+, 0.85 WHIP and a 14.5 K/9 in 23 games with the Kansas City Royals and San Diego Padres.
He then missed back-to-back seasons due to injuries after bouncing between three different teams, but it appears his major league dreams are not over.
Why it makes sense for Toronto
For the Blue Jays, it makes sense for a plethora of reasons. Firstly, Rosenthal's track record is overwhelmingly positive, with his down year being immediately avenged by an incredible season in 2020.
His fastball velocity was ranked in the 99th percentile across MLB relievers in 2020 at an average of nearly 98 mph, and serves as his main pitch in all situations. His slider also generates a similar whiff rate and was successful in combination with his fastball, along with a seldom used changeup that had a whiff rate of over 70%.
The stuff was nasty to say the least, and as long as his heavy fastball reliance doesn't get figured out by hitters, he can help replace a similar role to Jordan Hicks as a strikeout arm at a fraction of the market value.
The market for Rosenthal will be competitive assuming he impresses scouts in his sessions over the winter, but if the price tag remains reasonable, there's no reason not to be all over him.
Worst-case scenario, he doesn't pan out and the organization can likely find an easy way to find a new home for him, but the ceiling could be exponential as an affordable high-leverage option if he returns to his usual form.