Here’s an Idea: Trevor Rosenthal a Starter, Joe Kelly as Closer

Yes, Trevor Rosenthal already was anointed the closer for 2014. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny and general manager John Mozeliak both made that very clear back in November, and Trevor was obviously very good as closer from late September throughout the postseason.

collage12414He’s very good, period. In his 98 big league innings, he’s struck out 133 while walking just 27 and giving up 29 earned runs. That 100 mph fastball makes Cardinals fans and national broadcasters gush, especially because it’s led to so many of those strikeouts.

We know too that he wants to be a starter instead of a reliever. He said it last fall, he said it again on Saturday at the Winter Warm-Up — jokingly, according to Derrick Goold’s tweet.

He was a starter in the minor leagues, exclusively so from midway through the 2010 season until he was called up to the Cardinals during 2012, and he was good. He started the Midwest League All-Star Game in 2011, threw a complete game that year and was even the starting (and winning) pitcher in the Quad Cities River Bandits Midwest League championship game that September.

His minor league numbers might not be quite as eye-popping — in 285 1/3 innings he struck out 293 and walked 98 while giving up 112 earned runs — but he made 48 starts and had a record of 22-14.

Yes, the rotation is already crowded. Yes, even the competition for the rotation coming up this spring is already crowded. But if it’s what he wants to do and what he’s more than capable of doing, why not give him a shot?

Oh, because then a closer will be needed? Simple answer there, and it has nothing to do with waiting on Jason Motte’s return: Joe Kelly.

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