The Washington Nationals took a gamble signing Trevor Rosenthal this offseason, but after his Wednesday performance, it is clear the experiment is over.
Washington was spending a significant investment on a guy who had not pitched in the Major Leagues since 2017, where he made 50 appearances for the St. Louis Cardinals.
The last time we say Rosenthal in the Majors he was very solid. Rosenthal recorded a 3.40 E.R.A. in 47.2 innings with St. Louis to go with 76 strikeouts.
The right-hander did not look like he was completely back to his 2015 All-Star form, but was an above average late-inning reliever who had great strikeout stuff.
At the end of 2017 disaster struck Rosenthal. After getting injured towards the end of the season, it was determined he would have to get Tommy John surgery that offseason, ending his Cardinals career.
Rosenthal looked good for them in his showcase in the 2018-2019 offseason and that ultimately led Washington to take a chance on the hard-throwing reliever. After a spring where he performed in 10 games and showed flashes of his old self, expectations were high for the Nationals reliever at the beginning of the season.
Washington thought they had a flame-throwing reliever to pair with All-Star closer Sean Doolittle, but things have could not have gone worse than they have to this point.
Since his first outing of the 2019 season on March 30, Rosenthal simply has not looked like a Major League Pitcher. In three total innings, the right-hander has given up seven hits, 12 runs and has walked nine to just three strikeouts.
In his outings, Rosenthal has regularly not even been able to hit the catcher with his pitches, throwing six wild pitches and hitting two batters.
The Nationals have tried to hang on and keep giving Rosenthal a chance for as long as they can, but it is time to move on. The team is practically playing with a 24 man team, and with a bullpen that is already not a strength they cannot afford to do this any longer.
The biggest problem with the Rosenthal situation is what Washington will be obligated to pay him if they just straight up cut him. Rosenthal does have minor league options according to Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo, but with his total MLB service time, he would have to accept a minor league assignment which he will likely not do.
That makes things difficult because the reality is if the Nationals want to get rid of Rosenthal they will likely just have to straight up designate him for assignment and eat his salary for the 2019 season. Although just eating a $7 million dollar salary is not ideal, it is what has to happen at this point for the Nationals.
It will not be easy money wise, but the Washington Nationals cannot afford to have a 24 man team any longer. We all wish the best for Trevor Rosenthal, but it is clear at this moment things are broken beyond repair. It is time for Washington to pull the plug and end this experiment once and for all.