Earlier this month the Washington Nationals acquired hard-throwing right-hander Kyle Barraclough from the Miami Marlins, and earlier this week they picked up Sean Doolittle’s option for 2019. Now, according to a report by USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale this afternoon, Mike Rizzo and Co. in the Nats’ front office are on the verge of adding veteran reliever Trevor Rosenthal to the relief corps in D.C.
Former #STLCards closer Trevor Rosenthal is the 1st free agent signing of the 2018 winter as the Washington #Nats are finalizing a deal to have him anchor their bullpen— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) October 31, 2018
The addition of the Rosenthal, who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2017 and didn’t pitch in 2018, would give the Nationals a reliever with experience closing out games who could also fill in as a closer when matchups are favorable or when Doolittle is unavailable.
In 50 appearances and 47 2⁄3 inning pitched for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2017, the now-28-year-old righty posted a 3.40 ERA and a 2.17 FIP with 20 walks (3.78 BB/9) and 76 Ks (14.35 K/9), while holding opposing hitters to a combined .206/.294/.278 line.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch writer Derrick Goold wrote earlier this month that Rosenthal was expected to sign quickly this winter after impressing in a showcase attended by 40-some scouts.
“About 40 scouts attended Rosenthal’s 36-pitch showcase in the Los Angeles area, and they saw the Cardinals’ former All-Star closer touch 98 mph with his fastball and sit in the high 80s with his slider and changeup.”
Goold suggested that the contract Rosenthal was looking to sign would likely be a one-year deal with an opt-out after 2019.
MASN’s Mark Zuckerman has since confirmed Nightengale’s report that a deal is in the works:
#Nats indeed are finalizing a deal with free agent reliever Trevor Rosenthal, per source. Still needs to pass a physical, so may be a few days til it’s official. (First reported by @BNightengale)— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) October 31, 2018