For the sixth straight year, we’re taking a look back at everyone that played for the St. Louis Cardinals this season. Whether they were a major contributor or a bit player, here all year or for just a little while, we’ll look at their season and talk about what went right and what went wrong. The stat line listed is just their time in St. Louis, though splits and other numbers in the discussion may be for the entire year. Imagine this as them stopping by Mike Matheny‘s office for a little review on their way home for the winter. As always when you see incredible artistry in the blogs, all credit for the header work goes to @cardinalsgifs.
Player: Trevor Rosenthal
Season stats: 3-4, 11 SV, 3.40 ERA, 50 games, 47.2 IP, 37 H, 20 BB, 76 K, 1.196 WHIP, 2.17 FIP, 0.6 bWAR
Hero/Goat: Goat 6
Overall grade: B
Positives: Walked nine fewers and struck out 20 more than he did in 2016 in seven more innings….had the second best FIP of his career, just trailing 2013’s 1.91….had the highest K/9 rate of his career….had a 3.09 ERA before his last two outings….righties hit just .195 against him….batters had a .484 OPS at Busch….had a 1.88 ERA in the second half….pitched 12.1 innings in July and had a 1.46 ERA….batters had a .297 OPS when the at bat finished with him ahead….allowed a .172 average with nobody out….batters had a .342 OPS when he had zero days of rest….limited the Cubs to one hit in 14 plate appearances.
Negatives: Allowed two runs and didn’t get anyone out in his last outing, after which he was diagnosed as needing Tommy John surgery….started the season on the DL after a spring training injury….said injury kept him from not only starting in the spring but ever developing into the Andrew Miller-like fireman that was discussed last winter….had a 4.15 ERA on the road….even though batters hit just .213 in the first half, he still had a 4.05 ERA in that span….had a 7.15 ERA in June….batters hit .333 on the first pitch….they had a 1.101 OPS when the count ended with the batter ahead….batters hit .278 with runners in scoring position….did his worst work (relatively speaking) in high leverage situations….had a 5.79 ERA when he had three days rest….the Reds had a 1.136 OPS against him.
Overview: For the most part, it was a solid year for Rosenthal. He started as the eighth inning man that could only pitch every few days and wound up reclaiming his ninth inning role. With him and Tyler Lyons filling out the back end of the rotation, the club was able to finally push over that .500 mark and get back into a real race. Given the fact that he was facing his last time through arbitration in the winter, it looked like Rosenthal was in good shape to talk about a long-term contract.
Instead, the lasting image of Rosenthal’s 2017 may be the video of him warming up in Boston’s bullpen and shaking his arm, obviously hurting, while Blaine Ilsley stood there completely oblivious to the situation. Rosenthal entered the game, gave up a walk and a homer to turn a victory into a defeat, and had his surgery a week or so later. The health of pitchers seems to be so fragile at times–you never know when they’ll break down, only that they likely will. Rosenthal broke down at the wrong time, both for him and the team.
Outlook: As we all know, Rosenthal was released earlier in the month. Given what he was going to make and the fact that he’d be gone almost all (if not all) of next season, that made a lot of sense. There’s somewhat of a possibility that, after some of the 40-man roster issues are settled, the Cardinals might look to give Rosie that two-year deal where they pay him to rehab and they have him for a year after, but the Cardinals never went long-term with him when they had the chance so I’m not as sold on that as some others are. I expect Rosenthal will find a place to land and probably reward whoever gives him the deal with a good season as well. I know most Cardinal fans will be rooting for him.