WASHINGTON -- The Nationals have wasted little time to begin rebuilding their bullpen, making one of the first notable free-agent moves of the offseason by signing Trevor Rosenthal to a one-year deal with a conditional option for 2020, the team announced Saturday morning.Rosenthal and the Nationals had been close to
WASHINGTON -- The Nationals have wasted little time to begin rebuilding their bullpen, making one of the first notable free-agent moves of the offseason by signing Trevor Rosenthal to a one-year deal with a conditional option for 2020, the team announced Saturday morning.
Rosenthal and the Nationals had been close to a deal since Wednesday, but spent the rest of the week working out the framework. The one-year deal will pay him $7 million next season with appearance incentives, a similar structure to the deal Greg Holland, another Scott Boras client, signed before the 2017 season when he was coming off Tommy John surgery.
Washington felt comfortable enough to sign Rosenthal, who underwent Tommy John surgery 14 months ago and did not pitch in 2018, after it attended his showcase a few weeks ago, where his fastball velocity reportedly remained in the upper 90s and touched 100 mph.
It convinced the Nats he is healthy, and perhaps he could return to the form that made him one of the best closers in the National League with the Cardinals. An All-Star in 2015, Rosenthal led the Majors with 93 saves from 2014-15 and posted a 2.65 ERA with 11 strikeouts per nine innings. Rosenthal was the eighth youngest pitcher in MLB history with 100 saves, and from 2013-17 he was one of six pitchers to record at least 120 saves and strike out at least 400 batters.
So the Nats are hoping Rosenthal, 28, can return to that form. They also traded for Kyle Barraclough from the Marlins last month and are hoping he and Rosenthal can serve as setup men for Sean Doolittle.
Jamal Collier has covered the Nationals for MLB.com since 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.