Detroit Tigers sign reliever Trevor Rosenthal to minor-league deal with MLB camp invite

Detroit Free Press

LAKELAND, Fla. — The Detroit Tigers have signed right-handed reliever Trevor Rosenthal to a minor-league contract with a non-roster invitation to spring training. He is expected to compete for a spot in the Opening Day bullpen.

Rosenthal, 32, hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2020.

The Tigers and Rosenthal have been in communication about the possibility of a minor-league contract since at least January, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. Those talks picked up momentum over the past couple weeks and led to an agreement.

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Rosenthal pitched 10 games for the Tigers in 2019.

The former All-Star reliever underwent Tommy John surgery in 2017 to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. He missed the entire 2018 season while rehabbing and hasn’t been the same since the surgery.

In 2020, Rosenthal posted a 1.90 ERA with eight walks and 38 strikeouts in 23⅔ innings across 23 games for the Kansas City Royals and San Diego Padres. He finished 18 games and racked up 11 saves.

But Rosenthal underwent thoracic outlet surgery in April 2021, then season-ending hip surgery in July 2021.

One year later, the San Francisco Giants — with Scott Harris, now the Tigers’ president of baseball operations, serving as the general manager — signed Rosenthal to a one-year contract for the prorated portion of $4.5 million. The Giants traded him to the Milwaukee Brewers for Tristan Peters at the trade deadline in early August.

Rosenthal spent his 12-day tenure with the Giants rehabbing a hamstring strain. With the Brewers, he pitched two innings in three outings for Triple-A Nashville. He allowed four runs on four hits (two home runs) and three walks with two strikeouts.

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Back in 2020, Rosenthal profiled as an elite high-leverage reliever in the shortened season. His fastball averaged 97.9 mph with a 35% swing-and-miss rate, and his slider generated a 36.1% whiff rate. When healthy, he also has an above-average changeup to use against left-handed hitters.

Another veteran right-handed reliever, Matt Wisler, is trying to earn his spot on the Opening Day roster as a non-roster invitee. By the end of spring, he wants his fastball to be in the 92-93 mph range and his slider to be in the 82-83 mph range.

Wisler has pitched in two spring training games.

On Tuesday, his slider averaged 78.5 mph and his fastball averaged 88.8 mph. On Saturday, his slider sat around 79 mph and his fastball averaged 89.8 mph. He only throws two pitches.

Contact Evan Petzold at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold.

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