Chicago Cubs’ Trevor Rosenthal should be a trade deadline target

Trevor Rosenthal (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Trevor Rosenthal (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs desperately need bullpen help, and Trevor Rosenthal could be an answer.

Major League Baseball is exactly three weeks from the trade deadline. A flurry of rumors has abounded, circulating through clubhouses as teams aim to upgrade in a run to the postseason. The Cubs sit 11-4, four games up in the National League Central, and while much is clicking early on, one area needs help in the worst way – the bullpen.

Per Fangraphs team pitching leaderboard, the Cubs are currently the third-worst bullpen in baseball. Their current ERA is 7.30, and they find themselves in the depths of the basement with a 14.3 percent walk rate. Craig Kimbrel has lost his touch since the team signed him in 2019. In 27 games in a Cubs uniform, Kimbrel has posted an 8.49 ERA, 9.14 FIP, and a 53 ERA+ and is not the answer right now.

The importance of a strong bullpen, as Cubs fans know, is equivalent to success, especially for a team in the top three of the league for playoff seeding through the first few weeks of the season. The question remains: How can manager David Ross and the bullpen right the ship?

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Trevor Rosenthal is a name who has come up in years prior as a target for the Cubs’ bullpen. From 2012-2015, Rosenthal terrorized the league, and, by attrition, the Cubs. He posted a 2.66 ERA over the 233 game span, racking up 96 saves and a 30.4 percent strikeout rate.

The Washington Nationals signed the veteran closer to a one-year/$7 million deal back in 2018. It did not prove beneficial as Rosenthal allowed 16 earned runs in just 6 1/3 innings before his release. He recorded a walk rate of 34.9 percent, struggling mightily with command.

Midway through last season, the Detroit Tigers signed Rosenthal to a minor-league deal. He forced the Tigers’ hand, and while the strikeout rate improved, the walk rate was still horrendous as he posted a 7.00 ERA in nine innings.

This past offseason, the Kansas City Royals became the most recent team to give the 30-year-old veteran a chance. Rosenthal signed a $2 million minor-league deal and up to $2.25 million for making the major league roster. The move has worked well for both Kansas City and Rosenthal as he seems to have found the fountain of youth.

In seven appearances this year for the blue and gold, Rosenthal is carrying a 1.29 ERA. He has also not walked a soul in seven innings of work and is striking out a ridiculous 41.7 percent of the total batters faced. Opponents are batting a measly .167, and Rosenthal’s xFIP is a tremendous 1.68.

Next. Ross commits to Ian Happ as his center fielder. dark

Of the current layout in the Cubs bullpen, Jeremy Jeffress has been the strongest. He has not allowed a run in his six appearances. Rowan Wick is another strong arm who has pitched well. Outside of those two, it has been a nightmare. Rosenthal’s contract is more than manageable, and he is a free agent at the end of the year. It would be in the Cubs’ best interest to try and swing a deal by the deadline for their October playoff push.