Padres need to bring back Trevor Rosenthal to complete offseason splurge

Padres Trevor Rosenthal

Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Padres Trevor Rosenthal
Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

The San Diego Padres made a flurry of moves this winter, and they need to make one more to shore up the bullpen.

With the recent additions of Blake Snell, Yu Darvish, and Joe Musgrove, the Padres’ starting rotation looks to be as formidable as any in baseball. Dinelson Lamet turned into a legitimate ace, and if he’s healthy, he’s as good as any starting pitcher in Major League Baseball.

The lineup is basically a juggernaut, with two MVP finalists in the middle in Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado. Add in quality hitters up and down the lineup, including another recent addition, Ha-Seong Kim, a slugger from Korea, coming off of a .300-average, 30-homer campaign, and it’s a pitcher’s nightmare. San Diego’s lineup ranked fourth in OPS last season with essentially the entire lineup returning, including the versatile Jurickson Profar, who was announced to have signed a three-year contract on Friday morning . That unit finished with the best OPS in team history (.798).

The bullpen is the last frontier of unaltered land. The Friars’ relievers ranked 10th in WAR in 2020, with their top six relievers by appearances in 2020 returning this coming season. Plus, arms like Jose Castillo and Austin Adams will be fully back from injuries to join the ranks with their wicked stuff.

This Padres team is about as complete as any in franchise history. Save for one thing- Trevor Rosenthal.

Rosenthal came to San Diego from the Royals during A.J. Preller’s midseason trade palooza and made the most immediate impact of any of those deadline acquisitions, saving four games in nine appearances ahead of the playoffs.

Overall, he was stellar for the Friars during his brief stint. He did not allow a single run in 10 regular-season innings. The bullpen was overused and taxed in the playoffs, but he did earn a save in Game 2 of the Wild Card series, one of the most dramatic and important games in franchise history.

Rosenthal became a Padres Twitter darling as well, for his willingness to interact with fans and his affinity for Lolita’s Taco shop and San Diego jumbo-burritos. For that reason, along with his solid performance for the majority of his time in San Diego, fans want him back, and it seems like the feeling is mutual.

During the 2020 season, Rosenthal’s base salary was $2 million. The Friars certainly have enough flexibility to bring him back for a similar number. The trimmed-down front office seems willing to spend to get a World Series title in San Diego for the first time. A team can never have too much pitching.

That salary is a bargain for a hurler who has a career 3.36 ERA who had a whopping 240 ERA+ last season.

The peripheral numbers behind Rosenthal’s successful 2020 suggest can continue in 2021. He was in the 95th percentile for whiff rate and 99th percentile in expected ERA (xERA), expected batting average (xBA), strikeout rate, and fastball velocity. His sinking fastball averaged nearly 99 mph in 2020. His spin rate jumped over 100 rpm for all of his pitches from 2019 to 2020.

At 30 years old, Rosenthal looks to have plenty left in the tank.

If the Missouri native were to return to the fold, the Padres’ bullpen projects as a strength once again. Even without him, they likely will be solid, but if the Friars can find a way to bring him back, very few teams would match San Diego’s depth across the board.

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Nick Lee
Native of Escondido, CA. Lived in San Diego area for 20 years. Padres fan since childhood (mid-90s). I have been writing since 2014. I currently live near Seattle, WA and am married to a Seattle sports girl. I wore #19 on my high school baseball team for Tony Gwynn. I am a stats and sports history nerd. I attended BYU on the Idaho campus. I also love Star Wars.

5 thoughts on “Padres need to bring back Trevor Rosenthal to complete offseason splurge

  1. While I want them to bring Rosental back, there might be other things in play. There is a rumor out there that the Brewers will discuss trading Josh Hader. They will not be competing and likely won’t be as they rebuild and watch payroll. So, if AJ is working that angle for a stud LH reliever with 3 controllable years, I’ll be patient.

    We have a good bullpen but it’s not quite good enough. We saw last year what happens when you lose an Integral part of your rotation or an important relief pitcher. I think AJ is loading up the cupboards in case we do lose someone.

    So… yes on Rosenthal if we cannot pull off a Hader trade soon. I’m wondering if Cronenworth is the key to that trade and a reason why Profar was brought back. I hope he doesn’t doddle and lose Rosenthal because of that.

  2. If this were any other season, where they might not be all in, but we’re seriously contending, I’d go with what they have…and that’s not bad (Pagan, Pomeranz, Castillo, Strahm, etc)…but all these signings and trades, smell like they don’t wanna settle for anything but a WS appearance.

    They need Rosenthal…period

  3. If Rosenthal were willing to sign for a “similar number” to last years salary, I’m sure he would have already put pen to paper on a multi year deal to stay in San Diego. The issue is, bullpen arms are showing to be never more important than they are now and he is one of the two best still available, Hand being the other.

    If Yates was able to get $4.5M plus incentives from the Blue Jays, May 2 years and $15M from the Mets and that crazy deal Hendricks got from the White Sox, it is really hard to pin point how much Rosenthal is going to want. I think Preller & Co. have high hopes for Adams, so I hope Rosenthal doesn’t price himself out of being on what could be a special team in San Diego. He really seemed to enjoy his short time with the Padres, let’s hope that carry’s a little weight in negotiations.

    I would like to say that, “I would like see a little room payroll wise to improve the team at the deadline”, but to be honest, if the Padres were able to bring Rosenthal back into the he fold, I am not sure where you would be able to improve this team, except for major injuries to major players which all us Padre fans are dreading. This Padre team should be one fun team to watch…..on TV unfortunately. Go Padres!

  4. 1. I agree, Rosie needs to come back.
    2. I also live near Seattle (Puyallup), grew up in SD, also wore 19 when I played.
    3. Yay for Padre fans in the PNW. We should create PNW Padre fan page on FB or something, there’s one for the Chargers. I see quite a few SD stickers/plate frames etc around the area.

  5. I think he’s the last piece of the puzzle. The bullpen is better than a lot of fans give them credit for. Adams shows a lot of promise and has a wipe out slider, Johnson was lights out down the stretch, Pomeranz was great, and Morejon really improved as the season went on. Strahm is consistent, and we should be getting Castillo back. The only question mark is Pagan, but he was great years before, sure he can get back to his old form. Having Rosenthal back will let everyone slide one role back and make the bullpen even better. Hope he returns!

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