Rosenthal and Others Avoid Arbitration


The St. Louis Cardinals announced Matt Adams, Seth Maness, Brandon Moss, and Trevor Rosenthal have all come to agreement on new contracts for 2016, thus avoiding salary arbitration with all four candidates.

Rosenthal will receive $5.6 million according to Yahoo Sports, which is significant raise from the $535,000 he earned in 2015.

As big a jump as that might seem, the deal is relatively team friendly as reliever Drew Storen settled at $8.375 million with Toronto, Zach Britton filed for arbitration at $7.9 million with Baltimore, and Hector Rondon settled for $4.2 million from Chicago.

MLB: Miami Marlins at St. Louis CardinalsRosenthal is the only one of that group to rank in the Top 5 for saves the last two seasons, which follows a trend for relievers to only enjoy a short run at the elite level.

Since 2011, only Craig Kimbrel has recorded at least 40 saves in four consecutive seasons–coming up just short of a fifth last season with 39.

Back to back seasons of 40+ saves is more common–besides Kimbrel and Rosenthal, the feat has been reached by Jim Johnson, Greg Holland, Soriano, and Huston Street over the last few years.

But sustaining that success–either because of health or the team’s performance is difficult and all the more reason why a reliever needs to command as much as possible as soon as possible.

While Rosenthal has only pitched in 139 innings over the last two seasons, he has made 140 appearances. By comparison, Lance Lynn leads Cardinal starters with 64 starts over the last two years. More innings, certainly but there is also a wear and tear from frequency. Others point to the difference of conserving velocity or the different approach to pitching as a starter versus coming in for one inning and letting it all fly.

The longevity of Kimbrel in recent seasons or a Mariano Rivera and handful of others who excelled season after season is more unique than common place.

So while it is a significant raise for Rosenthal, it was a necessary one for the 25-year old right-hander who enters his third season as the closer for the team. At the same time, the Cardinals receive a 40+ save closer for a reasonable cost and have no long term commitment, but rather the control of another year of arbitration if necessary.

photo credit: Charles LeClaire, Jason Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

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