As first reported by MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez, the Marlins have agree to a one-year, $2.5 million deal with right-hander Sergio Romo (plus incentives). The contract is still pending a physical. Earlier on Tuesday, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic mentioned that the sides were in negotiations.
Romo is a dinosaur, and I’m not just saying that because his 36th birthday is approaching. Unlike most modern relievers, he lacks the fastball velocity to overwhelm batters—his four-seamer averaged just 86.4 miles per hour in 2018. Instead, he relies heavily on a “frisbee” slider, throwing more of those last season (655) than all of his other pitches combined (474).
At the same time, Romo was somewhat of a pioneer with the Rays. Aside from being their primary closer (25 saves), they utilized him as an “opener” five other times, including consecutive starts on May 19-20. Zero days’ rest! That would’ve been unthinkable just a couple years ago.
That being said, his overall performance disappointed. Romo posted a 4.14 ERA and 1.26 WHIP, both career worsts for the 11-year vet.
Of course, Romo is best known as a high-leverage weapon for the Giants. He was originally their 28th-round draft pick in 2005 and stayed through the 2016 season. He ranked among MLB’s most durable relievers during that stretch and contributed to three World Series championships (2010, 2012 and 2014).
The $2.5 million guarantee actually represents the largest investment by the Marlins in major league free agency this offseason. Neil Walker took an even $2 million while Curtis Granderson settled for a minor league deal.
First look at Sergio Romo in his new threads.— Cut4 (@Cut4) February 12, 2019
Their new logo was really hard but we think we did an ok job. pic.twitter.com/PpoxwQsLB6
As we await comments from president of baseball operations Michael Hill, you can bet that Romo will have a more conventional role with the Fish. In an ideal scenario, he finds the fountain of youth for the first half of 2019, fires up the clubhouse...and gets flipped at the July trade deadline for prospect(s).
Once Romo officially signs, there must be a corresponding move to make room on the 40-man roster. The most obvious one would be placing Julian Fernández on the 60-day injured list. Claimed off waivers several months ago, the hard-throwing right-hander is not yet fully recovered from Tommy John surgery.
With so many free agents still unsigned and one of the league’s lowest projected payrolls, the Marlins should at least be considering another veteran addition to a bullpen that often got embarrassed in close contests last year.
You can follow Sergio’s massive accounts on Twitter and Instagram (@SergioRomo54).