Cardinals will stretch out Trevor Rosenthal as a starter

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For the first time in his career, Cardinals reliever Trevor Rosenthal had a subpar season. The right-hander lost his role as the team’s closer during the year and finished with a 4.46 ERA and a 56/29 K/BB ratio in 40 1/3 innings. In the previous two seasons, Rosenthal was one of the more dominant closers in the National League.

The Cardinals, who thrived with Seung-hwan Oh in the closer’s role in the latter half of the season, plan to stretch out Rosenthal as a starter for spring training, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. If Rosenthal thrives, he could open the season in the rotation rather than the bullpen. Even if he doesn’t make the rotation, he could serve in more of a long man/swingman role.

Rosenthal’s agent, Scott Boras, said that his client is “excited about this potential, and so is the club.”

Cardinals GM John Mozeliak said, “It was something that he has had a desire to do. As we were looking at all the different moving pieces it doesn’t hurt to have an extra arm, and in the past we’ve felt like an extra arm would help.”

The Cardinals’ rotation is more than full, with Adam Wainwright, Carlos Martinez, Mike Leake, Lance Lynn, and Alex Reyes as well as Michael Wacha and Jaime Garcia. But teams rarely have the luxury of ending the season with the same exact rotation with which they opened the season, so having options is always a good idea.