DETROIT -- While the Tigers prepare to welcome former Detroit pitchers Max Scherzer and Anibal Sanchez back to Motown with the Nationals visiting Comerica Park, they could soon give a shot to former Washington reliever Trevor Rosenthal. The veteran reliever and the Tigers are closing in on a Minor League contract, sources told MLB.com. The Tigers have not confirmed the deal.
MLB Network insider Jon Heyman first reported the talks.
The 29-year-old Rosenthal began the year in Washington’s bullpen, having signed a one-year deal after missing all of last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery. He retired none of the first nine batters he faced over his first four outings, struggled with command in three more appearances and then spent six weeks on the injured list with a viral infections.
The Nationals brought Rosenthal back off the IL earlier this month but released him on Sunday after he walked all three batters he faced last Saturday against the Braves.
The final numbers from Rosenthal’s National tenure weren’t pretty, with 16 runs allowed on eight hits over 6 1/3 innings. He walked 15 batters, hit three others, threw five wild pitches and struck out five.
While Washington couldn’t wait any longer for Rosenthal to get back in form while they try to climb back into contention, the Tigers have ample room for patience as they struggle through a rebuilding season. The Minor League contract is a low-risk, high-upside move for Detroit in hopes that a fresh start and more throwing gets the 29-year-old right-hander closer to the form that made him an All-Star closer in St. Louis in 2015 and a workhorse reliever for the Cardinals beyond that.
If Rosenthal figures things out, he’ll join a Tigers bullpen in need of help with All-Star Joe Jimenez having an up-and-down second full season in the Majors, Drew VerHagen outrighted to Toledo and Shane Greene on the market ahead of next month’s Trade Deadline. The Tigers, currently 26-50 amidst a seven-game losing streak, could pursue similar deals for more pitching depth, especially if rookie starter Spencer Turnbull misses time after leaving his start Thursday with shoulder fatigue.
The Tigers have seemingly hit on a rebound candidate with former Astros reliever Jose Cisnero joining the Tigers bullpen last week. They garnered lesser results from former Padres reliever Carlos Torres, called up earlier this month before being designated for assignment following four Detroit appearances.