A's announce deal with closer Rosenthal

February 22nd, 2021

After biding their time in a slow free-agent market, the A’s found their opportunity to strike on Monday, when the club announced a one-year deal with right-hander .

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but a source told MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand that it is worth $11 million. News of the agreement first broke on Thursday, less than an hour after the club also reportedly agreed to a one-year deal with Mitch Moreland.

To clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Rosenthal, outfielder Dustin Fowler was designated for assignment. Fowler was one of three prospects Oakland acquired in the 2017 Trade Deadline deal that sent Sonny Gray to the Yankees.

For a club that lost an All-Star closer in Liam Hendriks earlier this offseason, the A’s found about as good of a replacement as they could get with Rosenthal, another former All-Star who combined for a 1.90 ERA with 11 saves and 38 strikeouts across 23 2/3 innings with the Royals and Padres last year. His time in San Diego was particularly impressive, as he allowed just three hits and an unearned run in 10 innings.

Rosenthal’s addition caps off what has been a full rebuild of the A’s bullpen. Having lost right-hander Joakim Soria in addition to Hendriks, the club has added multiple veterans to make up for the key losses. After trading for left-hander Adam Kolarek and signing Sergio Romo, the A’s also agreed to a one-year deal with reliever Yusmeiro Petit on Sunday.

Rosenthal, 30, is likely to get most of the save opportunities in Oakland. In eight Major League seasons, six of those with the Cardinals from 2012-17, the right-hander has posted a 3.36 ERA in 373 relief appearances with 132 saves.

A common theme in the A’s recent bullpen acquisitions has been a track record of postseason success. That trend continues with Rosenthal, who has reached the playoffs five times and holds a 2.40 ERA in 27 appearances.

Once the deals for Rosenthal, Petit and Romo become official, A’s manager Bob Melvin will have quite the assortment at his disposal. From the high velocity Jake Diekman brings as a sidearmer from the left side to Kolarek’s slower sidearmed look to the sidearming effective slider Romo brings from the right side to Rosenthal, who ranked in the 99th percentile in fastball velocity among Major League relievers in 2020, the relief corps is about to get a lot more diverse.

“In theory, I’m sure this was by design,” Melvin said of the A's reported moves during a Zoom call on Thursday. “Youth, power, touch, arm angles. It definitely poses some potential problems for other teams and how you kind of match it up. There’s a lot of analytics that are thrown out there now to determine who follows who, and it looks like, potentially, we have guys that can do a lot of things and do them differently.”