Oakland A’s make surprising move to sign Trevor Rosenthal

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 08: Trevor Rosenthal #47 of the San Diego Padres pitches during the ninth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Three of the National League Division Series at Globe Life Field on October 08, 2020 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 08: Trevor Rosenthal #47 of the San Diego Padres pitches during the ninth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Three of the National League Division Series at Globe Life Field on October 08, 2020 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /
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The identity of the Oakland A’s closer had been a mystery this offseason. Jake Diekman had been penciled into the role, but the signing of Sergio Romo had put his role into question. Additionally, Lou Trivino was viewed as someone that could compete to be the A’s closer. The question appeared to be one that would be answered late in spring training.

That question has been emphatically answered, but not in a way that anyone had expected. In a surprising move, the A’s have signed Trevor Rosenthal to a one year deal worth $11 million.

Oakland A’s suddenly find money for Trevor Rosenthal

The A’s had spent the offseason saying that they were broke. Their offer to Marcus Semien, a player they desperately wanted to keep in the fold, was laughable. But at least they made an offer; the A’s never bothered to call Liam Hendriks. In fact, their trade of Khris Davis was spurred, in part, to free up the money needed to bring back Mike Fiers.

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After a disastrous 2019 campaign, Rosenthal had an impressive return to his previous form in 2020. He produced a combined 1.90 ERA and a 0.845 WHiP in his 23.2 innings between the Royals and Padres, notching 11 saves while striking out 38 batters and issuing only eight walks.

This signing, even on a one year deal, does carry a degree of risk. Rosenthal had slipped from his days as an All Star closer, losing his role in St. Louis before needing Tommy John surgery which cost him the 2018 campaign. His first year back was a disaster, as he infamously had four consecutive appearances where he allowed a run but did not record an out. He ended up posting a 13.50 ERA and a 2.413 WHiP in his 15.1 innings, striking out 17 batters, but also issuing 26 walks.

Even with that potential risk, there is no question that the A’s needed to take a closer look at their bullpen. Their relief corps had been a major strength last year, a dominant buzzsaw that helped propel the team to the division title. With the multitude of changes on the roster, having a strong bullpen will be even more important.

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Signing Trevor Rosenthal upgrades the Oakland A’s bullpen. The question of who will take over in the ninth inning is now answered.

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