Ricky Romero’s Extension One Year Later

When the Blue Jays committed $30.1MM to Ricky Romero last August, he had just 52 MLB starts to his name. But the Toronto front office was less concerned about his relative inexperience than the reality that pitchers’ throwing arms are often fragile.

Ricky Romero

“I think the risks are pretty obvious with health,” GM Alex Anthopoulos said last August 14th. “You’re always concerned with respect to health.”

In the year and two weeks since Romero signed his five-year extension, he has logged 238 innings, including 181 this year. When the left-hander looks back at the first year of the deal, he evaluates himself on his ability to stay on the field.

“Oh yeah, I think it’s health,” he said, crediting Toronto’s training staff. “That’s the big thing for anyone – to stay healthy. That’s the biggest concern – if you’re going to be able to last the whole season and not break down.”

If Romero (pictured) looked at the stat sheet, he’d find himself in the top ten in the American League in ERA (4th, 2.78), but he doesn’t evaluate himself on ERA, wins, xFIP or any statistic other than innings pitched.

“No, not at all,” he said. “For me I take pride in just going out there and giving my team a chance to win and racking up innings. If I do that and have quality outings? I’m good with that. I feel like I’ve done that this year.”

The numbers confirm that Romero has been effective. He has a 3.13 ERA with 7.4 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 in 238 innings since finalizing the deal, which set a record for pitchers with less than two full years of MLB service. At the time of the extension, the Jays were willing to enter unchartered territory with the 2005 first rounder since they looked forward to seeing him develop into their ace.

“We see a guy like Ricky continuing to improve,” Anthopoulos said last year. “We think he’s going to be an innings eater, we think he’s going to be a horse. We think he’s going to continue to evolve.”

Jon Lester and Yovani Gallardo, whose extensions figured prominently into the Blue Jays’ deal with Romero, have both taken steps forward since signing their respective contracts. Like the Blue Jays, the Red Sox and Brewers are getting what they paid for – and then some. Despite the similarities between his career and theirs, Romero doesn’t watch Lester and Gallardo any more attentively than he watches others.

“Whenever they’re on TV or there are highlights of them, yeah I’ll watch,” Romero said. “But I like watching baseball highlights period. It doesn’t matter who it is. I don’t pay any extra attention to them. They’re both great pitchers and having good years too.”

Romero’s extension won’t expire before 2015 (the Blue Jays have a club option for 2016), so they have reason to look well beyond 2011. Though there are no guarantees in baseball, especially for pitchers, Romero says his arm feels as good as ever.

“I’m feeling great,” he said. “I think as the season goes on I continue to get stronger and that’s what you’re looking for.”

Photo courtesy Icon SMI.


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37 Comments on "Ricky Romero’s Extension One Year Later"


Sniderlover
4 years 2 days ago

The extension was great when it happened and it looks even better now.

Ricky keeps improving every year and it’s a treat to watch him. Love the way he eats innings and has become a leader among the staff. 

4 years 2 days ago

ricky has really good stuff, especially offspeed. he gets lots of grounders, strikes out more than his fair share of batters and eats innings. imo what separates him from the elite pitchers in the game is walks. 

Lunchbox45
4 years 2 days ago

I don’t think Anthopolous himself expected that Ricky was going to develop this much, this quickly..

With how inconsistent the rest of the staff has been, him developing in to a front line starter has been a huge blessing to the jays..

I still think the Jays need to make Romero a #2 when they start to make a push though.  A power righty as an ace, with Romero as #2 would look pretty damn good.

Sniderlover
4 years 2 days ago

Yeah I agree. A legit ace + Romero would be a fantastic 1-2 punch.

It wouldn’t surprise me if Romero became that legit ace though. His walks are going down, his K’s are going up. He dominates righties and if he can get his curveball to be more consistent (or add a slider to his repertoire for lefties), he could dominate lefties as well and his numbers will shoot up.

Lunchbox45
4 years 2 days ago

 I agree… I was going to rebuttal with stats that show that Romero still cant pitch against good offenses however to much of my surprise, he’s been pretty good against pretty much every opponent, outside of the red sox.

He’s definitely taken a huge leap forward, there isn’t a reason to believe he’s plateaued at 26… but if you’re up against a Lester, Price or Sabathia, that’s a rough assignment.

Too bad we couldn’t convince doc to stay.

stevemac751
3 years 10 months ago

Ricky’s overall stats are significantly better than Lester’s. 5.9 rWAR vs 4.8.

stevemac751
3 years 10 months ago

Ricky’s overall stats are significantly better than Lester’s. 5.9 rWAR vs 4.8.

notsureifsrs
4 years 2 days ago

in terms of ace-hood, the only thing i see holding back romero to this point is his performance against good teams. his career performance against +.500 teams (4.03 career ERA, 4.23 career FIP) has been underwhelming, and more importantly he has struggled famously against boston and new york

there’s been a bit of progress on that front this year, but not enough. he’s posted a 3.46 ERA against +.500 teams, but a FIP of 4. his three starts against the yankees have been better certainly than in the past (3.00 ERA), but with a FIP of 4.14 it may not be as much progress as it seems. boston has beaten him up badly twice again this year

still a very nice extension, still a very nice pitcher, and still plenty of time to grow. but to achieve that #1 status, i think he’s got to begin to prove he can handle the big boys

Sniderlover
4 years 2 days ago

Well, to be fair, what pitcher doesn’t struggle against Red Sox and Yankees? Even Doc has a 4.39 ERA against Boston in 275 IP.

notsureifsrs
4 years 2 days ago

off the top of my head? david price, cliff lee, cole hamels. for lefties anyway

i mean that’s partly why i expanded it to +.500 teams instead of just those two. but romero does play in the AL East, so we can’t really look the other way completely on the BOS/NYY thing

sabathia, lester, beckett & shields (at least recently). these guys find ways to beat down the big boys. romero has the stuff to dominate them as well; he just hasn’t yet

Sniderlover
4 years 2 days ago

I won’t disagree with that. He has some command issues which Red Sox and Yankees expose him of and something but it is improving and as he gets older, I think he will start to pitch them better. I mean he’ll never be great against them as long as he has his command issues but he will do beter.

The guys you listed have (Price, Lee, Hamels) have great command which is why they can handle the Red Sox. 

Still, it’s just his 3rd year which is hard to believe.

notsureifsrs
4 years 2 days ago

yes, and most of his peripherals are headed in the right direction year-over-year. he doesn’t have to be a top-tier ace to be awesome

4 years 2 days ago

 Even CC Sabatia (another Lefty) has a 7.20 ERA against Boston, the red sox are not friendly to left handed pitchers. Ricky Romero is one year younger than Jon Lester and he has a much better stats, Im not saying hes better but really hes up there with him, he also has much better stats than CC at the same age. He is really underated for some reason, and this is one of the most underated moves (not like theres alot).

notsureifsrs
4 years 2 days ago

“Even CC Sabatia (another Lefty) has a 7.20 ERA against Boston, the red sox are not friendly to left handed pitchers”

this year he does. it was
2.88 in 5 starts in 2009 and he had a 3.28 FIP against them in 2010. i also just named (and now confirmed that it’s true) three lefties who have had great success against boston and nyy.

and again, this isn’t just about the big two. it’s about good teams in general, against which established aces like sabathia have consistent success. no matter how excited you are about his potential, romero isn’t in the class of sabathia and lester. he just isn’t

East Coast Bias
4 years 2 days ago

notsureifdebbiedowner

4 years 2 days ago

Ya this years the Boston lineup is different than the lineup last years. They added Gonzalez and Carl Crawford and more people, unlike last year there lineup is lefty dominated which gives left handed pitchers a hard time against Boston. Romero only has an ERA greater than 4 against 2 teams: Boston and Detroit. While CC has an ERA over 4 against 4 teams : Boston, Detroit, Texas and the Cubs. While David Price has an ERA greater than 4 agaisnt 6 teams: Baltimore, Angels, Minnesota, Yankees, Oakland, and Florida. Jon Lester has an ERA greater than 4 against 5 teams: White Sox, Minnesota, Yankees, Texas, and Cubs.

So tell me that Romero is not at the same level as these guys? You cant look at last years stats against teams because the lineup that most teams put up is much different than last years lineup. Romeros ERA would also be better if the Jays bullpen can hold a win. Im not excited about Romeros potential because hes living it.

notsureifsrs
4 years 2 days ago

there lineup is lefty dominated which gives left handed pitchers a hard time

that is not how that works

So tell me that Romero is not at the same level as these guys?

romero is not on the same level as those guys. now that i’ve told, would you like me to show?

xFIP, FIP-, SIERA

player a: 3.00, 69, 3.01
player b: 3.55, 92, 3.37
player c: 3.79, 103, 3.66

maybe we’re being unfair to ricky. let’s make our sample 2 years and see:

player a: 3.34, 77, 3.38
player b: 3.34, 81, 3.30
player c: 3.71, 95, 3.73

~*one of these things, is not like the other things…*~

4 years 1 day ago

Wait whos player A, B, and C. But you got to admit Romero is right there with these guys, they are all stars and aces. Romero might not have the extra stats that show that he is there, but Romeros basic stats are right up there with him. Its not like all those pitchers are Aces and Romero is a number 2 starter. Romero would be a number 1 starter in nearly every team and he is having ace numbers this season, that you cannot deny. They are all aces and are with there with each other, Romeros basic stats are better than those ptchers but those pitchers got better more advanced stats, which should even it out. If you only look at those advanced stats Brandon Morrow is the 8th best pitcher in the League.

notsureifsrs
4 years 1 day ago

sabathia and lester, obv. romero is player c. and no, why in the world would i say he’s right there with them. as we just saw, he’s not

his FIP & SIERA being inferior isn’t “balanced” by his ERA. i don’t even know what that means

BumWino
3 years 9 months ago

I guess I like an advanced-stats nerd about as well as any man.

Nerd, how to you measure leadership, inspirational values and courage with your advanced stats?  You can’t?  Then Baseball WAR is one place I sure wouldn’t want to go with you.

4 years 1 day ago

You can use any stat you want to prove that a certain player is better than another, but the truth is Romero is getting the results, those stats are based on luck.

notsureifsrs
4 years 1 day ago

how do you measure “getting results”?

4 years 1 day ago

A pitchers job is to shut down the oposition teams in whatever way they can. The ERA is the main reflection on whether he achieved that goal or not, and clearly Romero has achieved that goal and gave the Jays a chance to win nearly everytime. Forget luck, conditions and the park he plays in, Romero does the only thing that he is supposed to do and that is to keep the oposition from scoring runs, he has even done it better than CC, Lester, and Price. At the end of the day the only stat that matters to winning games is ERA, and Romeros ERA is equal to or greater than the three players mentioned above.

notsureifsrs
4 years 1 day ago

“A pitchers job is to shut down the oposition teams in whatever way they
can. The ERA is the main reflection on whether he achieved that goal or
not

no, it isn’t. it’s a reflection of whether he and his defense achieved that goal or not

i could also say “a pitcher’s job is get his team a win. wins and losses are the main reflection on whether or not he achieved that goal”

but i’d be wrong. wins and losses are a reflection of whether he and his defense and his offense achieved that goal or not. it’s the exact same flaw

ERA is not a useful stat for measuring the results of individuals

4 years 1 day ago

I agree.  Romero is a true #2 at this point and the Jays need a sure #1 to compete.  Romero will be a true ace, just not there yet.

4 years 2 days ago

One thing I love about Ricky’s pitching is the way he sets himself up to field. He contributes a lot as that proverbial 5th infielder. 

Lunchbox45
4 years 2 days ago

I like the fact that he brings the former miss USA to games.

East Coast Bias
4 years 2 days ago

Oh snap, he’s dating Rima? I did not know that…

Jose_Bautista
4 years 2 days ago

Romero is amazing!

Nough Said!

tycobb
4 years 2 days ago

On most staffs Romero would be a strong number two starter. With no one stepping up to take the lead on the ace of the staff, Romero has led by example and has taken the ranes.

4 years 2 days ago

I don’t understand how a guy who is 5th in ERA, T-5 in Wins, T-3 in Sho, T-3 in CG, T-3 in QS, and 13th in WHIP is so underrated.  He’s not a #2 on many staffs out there.  He’s young, in his third year, headed in the right direction, and already an ace in my opinion. 

Hoosierdaddy92
4 years 1 day ago

There’s one big elephant in the room here. 

If the Jays had extended Roy Halladay instead of trading him and kept Shaun Marcum, they could have been contenders the past few seasons. With Halladay, Marcum, Romero, and Morrow, they would arguably have had the best pitching in the AL. They would have had plenty of money to do so with Wells and Rios gone. After all, their offense was top-notch last year and is pretty good this year as well.

Shehori
3 years 11 months ago

The fact that Halladay didn’t want an extension would kinda prohibit that. And without dealing Marcum, they don’t have Lawrie – do you really believe the Jays should rethink that one?

Roll Fizzlebeef
4 years 2 days ago

“They find pitchers on a scrap heap that they make into effective relief pitchers.”

Scott Downs, Shawn Camp, Jesse Carlson, Brian Tallet (2007-09), Jeremy Accardo and several others in small stints during the J.P Ricciardi era. (If there was one thing that J.P. was good at, it was reclamation projects.)

3 years 11 months ago

You remember that Tampa was part of a losing culture for its first 10 years of existence right? The Blue Jays aren’t there yet, but if they can continue to draft well, lock up young talent and receive good value on trades they can get there.

es0terik
3 years 10 months ago

What the hell are you talking about? Did you forget that you guys had to feed on the bottoms of the MLB for a decade to even get where you are right now? The funny thing is that the Rays make the play-offs a few times and their fans suddenly feel they deserve to give birth to some disgusting and almost humorous egos. How long do you think you’ll last with your pretty little 40M salary? The Jays can give that much to Darvish on just his posting fee.

Who exactly on the Blue Jays can be considered a one trick pony? Aaron Hill and Adam Lind? Let’s start talking about the guys Anthopoulos is responsible for.

Anyways, in light of the Rays being eliminated in the first round, I only have one question for you:

Hey angry3… you angry?

4 years 1 day ago

Ya, the reason he was so “good” at it was because every trade or signing was a reclamation project.  Glaus, Thomas, Rolen ring a bell?