St. Louis Cardinals: Finding Trevor Rosenthal’s New Role

The front office for the St. Louis Cardinals is planning to stretch out the role of former closer Trevor Rosenthal. This move is intended to add depth to the starters, or make Rosenthal a “super reliever” like Andrew Miller of the Cleveland Indians.

The St. Louis Cardinals have said over and over that the role is not decided.  It can evolve and change. However, according to the St. Louis Post DispatchTrevor Rosenthal will work in with the starters during Spring Training.  Maybe this will be the change needed to put the flamethrower back on track.

Rosenthal fell off this year due to a strain in his forearm, resulting in him losing his closer role.  Prior to that, he posted back to back 45 save seasons.  He boasts a fastball that can touch 100, and a career ERA of 2.92.  As the fastball suggests, he blows a lot of batters away and has an average of 11.7 strikeouts per nine innings.

There is quite a bit of risk trying to extend Rosenthal.  Even with his fastball being what it is, 100 MPH can’t carry him through multiple innings. Throughout his career, he has relied almost solely on his fastball but if he is to pitch in multiple innings, that will have to change.

He does have a circle change-up, curve and an occasional slider, but he doesn’t show them as much.  Part of the expansion of Rosenthal’s role will need to include gaining more confidence in these pitches.  It was shown in Game 7 through Aroldis Chapman that MLB hitters can time pitches and start teeing off even if they are over 100 mph.

That Andrew Miller type role, which is a use as needed role, would be one to fit Rosenthal well.  He expressed interest in starting, but the Cardinals starting rotation runs deep.  Between Adam Wainwright, Carlos Martinez, Mike Leake, Lance Lynn, Alex Reyes, and picking up Jaime Garcia, there are a lot of quality arms eligible for a starter role.

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If Rosenthal can come back strong it can help fill some of the holes that injury has left in the bullpen.  In turn, that will allow more time to be spent on figuring out how to replace Matt Holliday in the outfield.

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