As the Major League Baseball trade deadline drew near the end of last month, the phone rang often for Trevor Rosenthal.
“Pretty much every team that was looking for bullpen help gave us a call,” said Rosenthal. “It was a good feeling, knowing they still remembered my name but also really hard because I’m telling my agent ‘yeah, I’m ready. Let’s do this, this sounds fun’ but they kind of reminded me of sticking to the plan and that’s going to be the most beneficial for both sides.”
That was the big picture plan when Rosenthal decided not to sign with a team this past off-season. The Cardinals were among the teams that offered a minor league deal, which would have allowed him to be under contract while he rehabbed from Tommy John surgery. Instead, Trevor preferred to remain a free agent and set up his own team to help finish his recovery with designs on a full return as an elite closer.
“That’s the cool thing in looking forward to the upcoming year as well,” said Rosenthal. “I feel like wherever I go, obviously I’m going to be excited playing again, but I think I’ll be able to make a big impact on whatever team that is. That’s exciting for me too, knowing that the team is going to be happy with my services.”
It’s been almost a year since Rosenthal underwent Tommy John surgery and of late has been posting videos on social media of his bullpen throwing sessions.
“We’re getting to the point now where I’m a few weeks away from finishing up my rehab protocol, getting the physical, getting signed off by the doc, and get ready to see where we’re going to be at next year,” he said. “I’ve kind of been on a slow program. When we initially had the surgery, we decided to take the year off and with that in mind, we took our time. We didn’t rush anything and everything’s been going really well.”
Previously able to throw his fastball at over 100mph, Rosenthal has not been clocked at maximum velocity as yet.
“We’ve been using the radar gun mainly to make sure I’m not throwing too hard, as weird as that may be,” explained Rosenthal. “From my protocol to build up progression, we kind of went percentage wise on any certain day and what kind of load I was going to be working with.”
An All-Star in 2015, Rosenthal posted his second season consecutive season of 40-plus saves and has 121 total saves in his career. Now with a repaired ligament in his elbow and at only 28 years old, Rosenthal figures to be a sought after commodity on the open market.
And while he was released by the Cardinals this past November, both sides have remained on good terms and there is nothing standing in the way of revisiting a new contract.
“No doubt,” agreed Rosenthal. “With the way the game is now, I don’t really foresee there being too many teams that aren’t interested in improving their bullpen. High leverage or just late inning experience, it’s something where I think it’s just going to come down to whatever the best fit is on both sides. I don’t know exactly what that looks like, but I am anxious to see when those talks progress a little bit more heavily what that looks like. But the way the Cardinals are set up now, it’s exciting to see the young group of players they have out in the bullpen and they’ve been doing really well.”
For what it’s worth, Rosenthal shared with a laugh that he does love salsa but also admitted that he doesn’t watch his former team every game. He and his wife, Lindsey, recently welcomed their third child plus, there’s his own rehab work to focus on.
“Now I’m to a point where over these next two months, it will be pretty much throwing without any restriction,” said Rosenthal. “Just getting good work under my belt so teams can be confident that I have completed this protocol and they know that I’m strong and I’m going to be ready to compete for a complete season going forward.”
I’ll be doing a workout for teams in early October. I’ll post the details as we get closer. Everything has gone so well this year. I’m anxious to see what the future holds! pic.twitter.com/SesB7mNl25
— Trevor Rosenthal (@TrevRosenthal) August 13, 2018
photo credit: Jeff Curry, Scott Kane-USA TODAY Sports