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Royals sign reliever Trevor Rosenthal to a minor league deal

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The Lee’s Summit West grad heads home.

MLB: New York Mets at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Royals have signed right-handed reliever Trevor Rosenthal to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training. According to MLB.com reporter Jeffrey Flanagan, Rosenthal will receive a base salary of $2 million if he makes the team with $2.25 million in incentives.

The 29-year old is a Kansas City-area native, graduating from Lee’s Summit West and attending nearby Cowley County Community College. He pitched for six seasons with the Cardinals, pitching under current Royals manager Mike Matheny. He was an All-Star in 2015 with 48 saves and a 2.10 ERA. But he suffered an elbow injury in 2017 which required Tommy John surgery. He would miss the entire 2018 season, leading to his release by the Cardinals. Rosenthal returned in 2019 with the Nationals, but struggled terribly with his command, walking 26 batters in just 15 13 innings with a 13.50 ERA. They released him in June and he signed with the Tigers, pitching nine innings with them.

Rosenthal features a fastball in the high-90s, occasionally hitting triple digits, along with a slider. The Tommy John surgery hasn’t hurt his velocity, but his walk rates, which were occasionally very high in his prime with St. Louis, have been awful since his return. But Rosenthal is on the right side of 30 and another year removed from his surgery could yield much better results. A minor league deal is a very low-risk deal that allows the Royals to assess his health and command in spring training, and if he’s healthy, he could become a late inning reliever that could be quite valuable at the trade deadline.