The Giants are interested in locking up closer Sergio Romo, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, but the two sides aren’t likely to talk about a new contract during the season. According to Heyman, while the sides are “open” to re-engaging, Romo and the Giants have agreed to not let the talks disrupt the season for the time being.
That, of course, does not mean that the 31-year-old Romo is a lock to reach free agency. The Giants hammered out an extension for Hunter Pence last September just prior to the season’s completion, and they negotiated a new two-year deal for Tim Lincecum before he filed for free agency. San Francisco GM Brian Sabean has shown an affinity for retaining his players, recently signing Angel Pagan, Marco Scutaro, Santiago Casilla, Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez to new multi-year deals upon the expiration of their previous deals with the Giants. He also signed Matt Cain to a five-year extension (with a sixth-year option) to keep the right-hander from hitting the open market.
Romo is off to a nice start to the 2014 season, having pitched to a 1.88 ERA with 7.5 K/9, 1.9 BB/9 and a 52.8 percent ground-ball rate. ERA estimators such as FIP and xFIP aren’t as bullish on his work to this point, but such metrics have, in the past, agreed that Romo’s skill set is that of an elite reliever. In 308 innings at the Major League level (all coming with the Giants), Romo has a 2.25 ERA (2.59 FIP, 2.98 xFIP) and has averaged better than 10 strikeouts per nine innings pitched.
Should he hit the open market, Romo could be perceived as the prize of the reliever market next offseason. He’d be joined by names like Jason Grilli, LaTroy Hawkins, Jim Johnson, Casey Janssen and potentially Rafael Soriano, assuming his $14MM option is declined. Huston Street could hit the open market as well, though it stands to reason that his $7MM club option will be exercised as long as he is healthy. If not, he wouldn’t provide much competition for Romo anyhow.
Romo is a client of Meister Sports Management, as shown in MLBTR’s Agency Database. A look at MLBTR’s Extension Tracker shows that Meister Sports was the agency behind Romo’s previous two-year deal with the Giants (which bought out his remaining arbitration years) as well as the four-year, $12MM extension signed by Cory Luebke with the Padres and the three-year, $16.5MM pact inked by Sean Marshall with the Reds. Clearly, a deal to buy out multiple free agent seasons for Romo would top those contracts with relative ease.