After another lackluster performance last night against the Giants, it may be time for the Cardinals to start considering a stopper not named Trevor Rosenthal for the end of games.
Last season, Trevor Rosenthal set a franchise record for saves by a closer in a season with 48. He also had an ERA of 2.10 and his walks were down from the previous season by almost half, 47 to 25. All indications showed that his decision to throw from the stretch instead of the windup improved his over all performance and was on his way to be one of the best closers in the game for years to come. Then 2016 happened.
Rosenthal has seen his control become completely out of control. He already has more than half the walks he had in 2015, 16, in around a fourth of the time. This drop in command is alarming for someone who generally has no offense to back him when he comes into end the game. While he has only blown one save, 8 for 9, there have been only a handful of save opportunities. Due to the feast or famine style of this offense, close games are at premium. A closer is not needed in order to win these games but a pitcher needs work in order to stay sharp. Rosenthal cannot seem to handle this work.
He will walk a batter to lead-off the inning, walk or give up a hit next, then repeat. He is constantly putting runners on as shown by his career high WHIP of 1.824. His most recent performance consisted of three straight walks and a very generous passed ball. He could not get a single out and was working behind in the count more times than not. All of those runs came into score when manager Mike Matheny made another bullpen blunder by not bringing in his second best reliever in Kevin Siegrist or even Jonathan Broxton but that is another article for another day.
Cardinals might explore closer options if Trevor Rosenthal doesn't find his command https://t.co/E4vWQ6DtWp
— Mark Saxon (@markasaxon) June 4, 2016
It may be time to start thinking about taking Rosenthal out of the stressful role of closer.
The Cardinals have the options to hold auditions. The main candidate for the position would be Seung-hwan Oh. Currently, Oh leads the NL in reliever strikeouts at 40 and has an ERA of 1.88. He has truly been the Final Boss we heard stories about and it may be time to make him what he is.
Another candidate could be Siegrist but there really is no wrong move here due to the fact that the Cardinals’ bullpen is primarily made from closers. One move that would coincide with this would be the demotion of Dean Kiekhefer. He has proven ineffective and is just not ready for the majors. With this, a true monster could be called up to audition for the closer role in Alex Reyes. In only 15 innings pitched so far this season, he already has 26 strikeouts.
No matter what the Cardinals do, they should proceed with caution every time we see Rosenthal warming up in the pen.
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