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Sherriff up; Lucas down; Rosenthal’s season over

Today the Cardinals optioned right handed relief pitcher Josh Lucas to Memphis and purchased the contract of left handed reliever Ryan Sherriff. To make room for Sherriff on the 40 man roster, Trevor Rosenthal was moved to the 60 day disabled list.

What happened

The Cardinals made yet another bullpen move today to call up Ryan Sherriff for the last bullpen spot. To make room, Rosenthal was moved to the 60 day DL.

Trevor Rosenthal was placed on the 10 day disabled list on August 17th with right posterior elbow irritation and we’ve had a cycle of relievers since. The Cardinals also confirmed today that after a second opinion, he will have Tommy John surgery which will end his season and potentially his time with the Cardinals.

What it means

Lucas, who was called up on Saturday, made two appearances for the Cardinals and posted a 6.75 ERA over 4 innings of work. He pitched the 8th and 9th innings last night, allowing a 2 run home run to Yangervis Solarte in the 8th before pitching a 1-2-3 ninth. He will return to Memphis where he has a 3.34 ERA over 56.2 innings this season.

Sherriff, 27, was a 28th round pick of the Cardinals back in 2011. He gained the attention of Cardinals fans this spring when Adam Wainwright got him a rental car for spring training. In Memphis this year he has a 3.19 ERA in 53.2 innings of work to go along with a dominant 0.99 WHIP. He has held left handed batters to a .198/.225/.302 batting line and right handed batters to a .215/.286/.271 line.

Impact

The bullpen move alone is like a 1/10 to me because I don’t think that who the 8th guy in Mike Matheny’s bullpen is really matters. However, the loss of Rosenthal is a 10/10.

Rosenthal has been really good this summer after struggling a bit in June. He got back on the horse in July though and since July 4th (and before the appearance where he got injured) he has a 0.52 ERA and a 0.75 WHIP in 15 appearances. He was 7-for-7 in save opportunities as well, giving him 11 on the year as he’d reclaimed his hold on the closer’s job.

But now Rosenthal will be done for the season and likely out for the entirety of the 2018 season after Cardinals’ General Manager Michael Girsch confirmed that he will undergo Tommy John surgery. With his absence for 2018 expected, the odds are good that he will be a prime non-tender candidate in November.

Rosenthal is making $6.2 million this season and has one year of salary arbitration remaining before he can elect for free agency after the 2018 season. However, the current CBA restricts how much a team can reduce the salary of a player under team control. For Rosenthal, it means the minimum they could pay him in 2018 without non-tendering him is $5 million.

Last year, with Seth Maness in a similar situation, he had made just $1.4 million and was expected to be back early in the season, but they non-tendered him.

The two sides could get creative and work on a two year deal that would pay Rosenthal in 2018 and give him a reduced rate in 2019 with incentives. However, the target for Rosenthal’s agent Scott Boras will be something similar to what Greg Holland got from the Rockies after sitting out a year, who gave him a 1 year, $7 million deal with incentives that are already worth an additional $6 million this year and he has vested a $15 million player option. I expect that they’d prefer free agency and hope to find a team willing to do better.

Jon Doble has been writing about the St. Louis Cardinals since 2010. You can follow him on Twitter at @JonDobleRBD, find him as R27 at RedbirdTalk.com and you can hear him co-host The UCB Podcast every fourth Wednesday night of the month. Redbird Dugout is a member of the United Cardinal Bloggers.

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