Kansas City Royals closer Trevor Rosenthal is off to a career-best start to the year, and because of that, he’s getting mentioned in several trade rumors. Brett Taylor of Bleacher Nation wrote on Tuesday that the Chicago Cubs are one of the squads possibly interested.
The writer cited a recent “mailbag” article by Derick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, who wrote that Rosenthal will likely be made available. In the article, Goold laid out exactly why the reliever is going to be on the radar of most contenders.
The first reason is that the Royals are one of the few teams that are well on their way to being eliminated. Current projections have them at a 6 percent chance of making the postseason, despite the expanded opportunities created by a coronavirus tainted campaign.
Rosenthal is having a very good 2020, bouncing back from Tommy John surgery in 2018. He’s posted a 1.46 earned run average and seven saves so far this year. Considering KC has just 12 wins total, he’s played a large part in the small number of victories they have managed to record.
Taylor points out Rosenthal is also extremely cost effective, especially in a season when money is tight even for big market clubs. If he’s dealt right at the August 31 trade deadline, the Cubs, or whatever team acquires him, will be on the hook for just $350,000.
The analyst also pointed out that relievers are likely to hold their value more than other players at the trade deadline. He backed up this claim by claiming they have a disproportionate amount of value in the playoffs.
Late last week, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi posted a report on Twitter that backed up rumors there were several teams after Rosenthal. He said the surprisingly competitive Miami Marlins were among the front offices giving the pitcher a look.
Taylor said Rosenthal is a good fit for the Cubs because of his success against left-handed hitters. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have been looking for someone who can consistently retire lefties, no matter which arm they throw with.
Rosenthal has dominated lefties both this season (.190 wOBA) and for his career (.267 wOBA). The analyst’s final rationale for why Epstein could go after him is because the two teams have dealt with each other before.
A reliable closer is something Chicago has had a hard time acquiring over the last few years. In mid-2019, they signed free-agent closer Craig Kimbrel, who posted career-worst numbers once he arrived in the Windy City. He began this season at the backend of the bullpen but lost his hold on the spot when he struggled again.