Trevor Rosenthal has made it clear he wants to start, but the Cardinals plan to keep him in the bullpen, at least to begin the season, according to St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Baseball America contributor Derrick Goold.
Rosenthal has been a stalwart for the Cardinals in relief the past two seasons, and took over as closer as Edward Mujica struggled down the stretch. Rosenthal was especially good in the postseason, striking out 18 over 11 2/3 scoreless innings.
Manager Mike Matheny said he’s confident Rosenthal can handle the job.
“Right now there is no reason to go anywhere differently than how we ended. Trevor Rosenthal is a guy who is going in there getting the saves for us. That’s how we’re heading into this spring,” he told the Post-Dispatch.
The Cardinals also have Jason Motte rehabilitating from Tommy John surgery and expect him to be healthy for spring training. Mujica is a free agent, while John Axford is under control and eligible for arbitration but might be too pricey.
The Cardinals are able to make a decision such as this because of a wealth of young pitching. Carlos Martinez, who impressed in the postseason out of the bullpen, will go to spring training as a starter, the team said.
In a recent “Ask BA,” J.J. Cooper looked at whether Martinez could be counted on as a starter next season as well as the overall depth of St. Louis’ pitching. What he found was unless the Cardinals trade a starter this offseason it will be hard to find room in the Cardinals Opening Day rotation for Martinez. The club currently has six established starting big league pitchers under contract for next year.