Rosenthal underwent Tommy John surgery in the summer of 2017 and, after his release from the Cardinals, worked out and rehabbed on his own, holding a showcase for teams in September to show he’s ready to return to the bigs in 2019. The Nationals, it would seem, liked what they saw.
Rosenthal pitched for six years for the Cardinals, totaling 121 saves and posting a 2.99 ERA and a 435/143 K/BB ratio in 325 innings. He’s not going to be expensive given how long he’s been out, but he certainly has some upside to him.
UPDATE: The financial terms of the deal are now known. It’s a major league deal that is fairly heavy on incentives. He’ll get $7 million guaranteed, but can earn up to $14 million next year based on games pitched and finished. There is also a vesting player option that will be valued at $15 million.
This deal is virtually identical to the one Greg Holland signed with the Rockies heading into the 2017 season. Holland, like Rosenthal, is a Scott Boras coming off of Tommy John surgery. That deal ended up working out for the Rockies for sure, as Holland saved 41 games for them in 2017. Holland ended up declining his part of the mutual option that vested following that season, rejecting the Rockies’ qualifying offer and signing a one-year, $14 million with the Cardinals. He was DFA’d by the Cards in July after a terrible partial campaign and picked up by the Nationals.
The very same Nationals now signing Rosenthal. Time is a flat circle.