Ricky Romero Rumors

Giants, Ricky Romero Agree To Minor League Deal

10:20am: Romero and the Giants have indeed agreed to a Minor League contract, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (via Twitter).

MAY 11, 7:09am: The Giants and Romero are making progress on a deal and could have something finalized as soon as today, reports Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet (via Twitter). Romero would report to extended Spring Training with the Giants upon completion of the deal.

MAY 10: The Giants are close to signing former Blue Jays starting pitcher Ricky Romero, Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun tweets. The deal will, presumably, be of the minor-league variety. The Jays released the 30-year-old lefty last month. Romero is a client of the Legacy Agency.

Romero appeared to be blossoming into one of the game’s better young starters in 2011, when he posted a 2.92 ERA in 225 innings with Toronto. He struggled the following season, though, leading the American League in walks, then had elbow surgery and never returned to his previous form. He last appeared in the bigs in 2013. Lately, he’s battled knee injuries, and Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos said his team decided to release Romero because they didn’t think he would recover in time to contribute this year. The Jays are on the hook for the remainder of Romero’s $7.5MM 2015 salary, plus a $600K buyout.

AL East Notes: Bailey, Sox Rotation, Romero

Yankees right-hander Andrew Bailey‘s road to recovery has again been slowed by a setback, reports Chad Jennings of the Journal News. GM Brian Cashman tells Jennings that Bailey underwent an MRI that has revealed a shoulder strain, and the former A’s closer will be shut down for the time being with no clear timetable for a return. Bailey tossed just 44 innings over the 2012-13 seasons with the Red Sox after being acquired in a trade that sent Josh Reddick to Oakland, and he’s signed Minor League deals with the Yankees in each of the past two offseasons.

Here’s more from the AL East…

  • The Red Sox have struggled tremendously in terms of starting pitching, but those hoping for a quick fix might instead need to be more patient, because the Sox themselves are typically patient with this type of problem, writes the Boston Globe’s Alex Speier. Speier looks at recent slow starts and poor stretches for a number of Sox hurlers in the Ben Cherington era, noting that more often than not, starters are given the opportunity to work out of slumps rather than replaced after limited struggles. Examples listed by Speier include Clay Buchholz in early 2012, Daniel Bard in 2012 and Felix Doubront in early 2013. Speier also notes that even amidst rotation in 2013, Allen Wesbter, arguably the team’s most MLB-ready prospect, made 10 starts at Triple-A while the big league group tried to sort things out.
  • Fangraphs’ Craig Edwards also tackles the Red Sox rotation, noting that the starting mix is filled with pitchers whose FIP is significantly better than their actual ERAs. Edwards looks at teams whose rotations have endured similar struggles stranding runners in the month of April over the past five seasons, noting that each has demonstrated marked improvement moving forward.
  • Ricky Romero was surprised to be released by the Blue Jays after a positive meeting with manager John Gibbons and pitching coach Pete Walker late in Spring Training, writes David Singh of Sportsnet“(They) let me know they were still thinking of me and still believe in me,” said Romero. “They told me ‘Make sure you take your time’ and we think it’s going to be a great story the day you come back up and help us.” Romero said that while he was uplifted by that conversation, he understands that it’s a business decision for Toronto. GM Alex Anthopoulos recently explained that Romero was cut loose after the team realized that he wouldn’t be recovered from a pair of knee surgeries by the end of the season.

AL East Notes: Papelbon, Holt, Romero, Paredes

The Phillies have been trying to sell the Red Sox on a reunion with Jonathan Papelbon in light of Koji Uehara‘s decline in velocity, reports the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Uehara’s average heater is down to 86.2 mph, according to Fangraphs, which is leading to an alarming reliance on his splitter — a pitch he’s thrown upwards of 85 percent of the time this season, per PITCHf/x. Cafardo looks up and down the Sox roster, noting that uncertainty abounds not only in the rotation, but in the lineup as well.

More from Boston and the AL East…

  • Tony La Russa’s handling of super utility player Tony Phillips in the late 1980s has served as at least somewhat of a blueprint for Red Sox manager John Farrell’s usage of Brock Holt, writes WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. La Russa spoke with Bradford about the importance of using a player like Phillips (or Holt) to keep the rest of the lineup fresh, particularly when that versatile asset is one of the team’s better hitters. Holt may or may not be one of Boston’s top bats — the lineup is loaded with talent, after all — but it’s hard to look past the .293/.344/.397 line he’s tallied dating back to Opening Day 2014.
  • Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star details the Blue Jays‘ decision to part ways with embattled left-hander Ricky Romero. GM Alex Anthopoulos explained to Kennedy that the Blue Jays didn’t feel Romero would recover from a double knee operation in time to contribute by season’s end, and they therefore opted to part with in order to “give him the opportunity to get a head start somewhere else.” Romero did not request his release from Toronto, per Anthopoulos, who spoke highly of a pitcher who was formerly seen as a building block in Toronto. “He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do,” said Anthopoulos. “He’s worked tremendously hard. We don’t have anything but the highest praise for the way he’s gone about it…” The GM added that to this day, he’s still not sure if anyone has an explanation as to what caused the chronic knee problems that seemed to derail Romero’s career.
  • The decision to re-acquire Jimmy Paredes after first losing him on waivers to the Royals is paying off significantly for the Orioles, writes MASNsports.com’s Steve Melewski. Baltimore lost Paredes to waivers last offseason and acquired him for cash in July. Since that time, he’s batted a collective .352/.374/.636 with the O’s. Paredes won’t sustain a BABIP near .400, but he’s shown more power than most likely expected and could be a valuable utility piece going forward.

Blue Jays Release Ricky Romero

The Blue Jays have released lefty Ricky Romero, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca tweets. Romero will make $7.5MM in the last year of a $30.1MM contract he signed in late 2010. He will receive a $600K buyout for 2016.

Romero, the sixth overall pick in the 2005 draft, was once a promising young starter. His best year was 2011, when he posted a 2.92 ERA, 7.1 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in 225 innings and finished tenth in AL Cy Young balloting. The following season, though, was a huge step backward — he had a 5.77 ERA and led the league in walks, then had elbow surgery after the season.

After that, Romero never returned to form. He spent much of 2013 in the minors, and the Jays outrighted him in June and then again in October. A knee injury ended his 2014 season after nine minor-league starts, and he had not yet pitched in 2015. According to Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star (via Twitter), Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos says that since Romero was in the last year of his deal and was not close to being able to help, there was no reason for the team to keep him.

AL East Notes: Sox, Romero, Gausman, Soriano

ESPN analysts Jim Bowden, Buster Olney and Keith Law ranked all 30 Major League teams according to strength of their Major League roster, quality of the farm system, financial strength, management and mobility of contracts and aggregated the scores to come up with the latest edition of their Future Power Rankings (ESPN Insider required and recommended). The Red Sox currently top the list based on their strong Major League and minor league rosters as well as the fact that they've committed just under $14MM to the 2016 season currently, giving them plenty of long-term flexibility.

Here's more on the AL East…

  • Grantland's Jonah Keri looks at the Red Sox' bright future and writes that the team is essentially playing "moneyball" but doing so while also being able to outspend their opposition. Writes Keri: The Red Sox have begun combining their substantial resources with the obsessive advantage-seeking mind-set of a small-revenue club, and in so doing have set themselves up to vie for championships in 2014 and beyond." Keri examines Boston's innovative approaches in four main areas: health, platoons, shifts and prospects.
  • Entering camp, Ricky Romero didn't seem to be a legitimate candidate for the Blue Jays' rotation, writes MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm. However, Chisolm says that Romero's strong early performance has caught the attention of the club, and he's shown some flashes of the pitcher he used to be prior to his unexpected collapse. At this point, Romero's strong Spring Training has him in the mix for a spot in the rotation. Any form of resurrection for Romero would be excellent news for the Jays, as the left-hander is still guaranteed $15.6MM through 2015.
  • Orioles top prospect Kevin Gausman is hoping to force the team's hand and work his way into the rotation out of Spring Training, but that probably won't happen, writes MLB.com's Britt Ghiroli. Gausman has added 12 to 15 pounds of muscle, cleaned up his delivery and begun wearing glasses while pitching, and the early results have looked good.
  • MLB.com's Bryan Hoch reports that the Yankees are planning to give Alfonso Soriano a look at first base to improve his versatility, but there's been no talk of him seeing any time at second base.

Blue Jays Outright Ricky Romero

The Blue Jays announced that they have outrighted left-hander Ricky Romero and catcher Mike Nickeas to Triple-A Buffalo after the pair cleared waivers.

Romero, at one point, was considered the team's ace following a 225-inning effort that saw him post a 2.92 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in 2011. After finishing 10th in the AL Cy Young voting that season, Romero returned to post a 5.77 ERA in 181 innings. Romero dealt with injuries in both knees and underwent elbow surgery following the 2011 season, which could explain the steep decline in his performance. He's twice been removed from the team's 40-man roster and has a combined 5.67 in 135 minor league innings from 2012-13.

Romero is owed $7.5MM in 2014 and again in 2015 after agreeing to a five-year, $30.1MM contract extension with the Jays back in August of 2010. Toronto holds a $13.1MM club option on Romero for the 2016 season which is all but certain to be declined barring a sudden turnaround.

Nickeas, 30, hit .166/.255/.251 in 200 plate appearances at Buffalo this season after coming to the Blue Jays from the Mets in last winter's R.A. Dickey blockbuster.

Anthopoulos Talks Goins, Johnson, Romero, Trades

It's been a disappointing season for the Blue Jays, who announced earlier this week that Jose Bautista would be shut down through season's end. Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos made a radio appearance with Greg Brady and Jim Lang on Sportsnet 590 earlier today to discuss the team (audio link). For those who don't have time to listen to the whole interview, Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith has transcribed Anthopoulos' comments. Here are some more highlights…

  • The Blue Jays were focused on adding quality innings to their rotation this past offseason, as evidenced by the acquisition of R.A. Dickey, Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle. One element Anthopoulos says the Jays should have been more focused on is the team's defense. He also stresses it's important to reassess their thinking from last offseason: "You have to look back. If you're going to be arrogant and stubborn and think you had all the answers and 'oh it just didn't work out,' I don't think you're going to get any better."
  • Anthopoulos feels that, from a defensive standpoint, rookie Ryan Goins could be the best second baseman the Blue Jays have had since Orlando Hudson in his prime. Indeed, both UZR/150 (+40.6) and The Fielding Bible (+6 runs) rave about Goins defense in an admittedly microscopic 99-inning sample size. He adds that over the past month, Brett Lawrie has been as locked-in defensively (and offensively) as he's ever been.
  • The Blue Jays will talk to their medical and training staff and try to decide by mid-October whether or not they will extend a qualfying offer of roughly $14MM to Johnson.
  • Anthopoulos called Ricky Romero on the phone late in August to see how the left-hander was feeling. He asked where Romero was at in terms of wanting to come up for September, and whether heading home for the winter to be away from the grind of a long season was the best thing for him from a mental standpoint. Romero wanted to come up and be a part of the team, even with no guarantee of innings pitched or appearances. Anthopoulos adds that he told Romero, who is owed $7.5MM in 2014 and 2015, that he will likely be removed from the 40-man roster again this winter. Romero will be given a clean slate in 2014 and a chance to win a spot on the roster, according to the GM.
  • Asked about the possibility of listening to trade offers on Bautista, Anthopoulos replied: "I always [listen on every player], and I tell the players that and I've had players ask me. As a policy, we don't have no-trade clauses on this team, and the question always comes up, 'Well, do you think I might get traded?' and so on. I tell them, 'Look, if I can guarantee you wouldn't get traded, I'd be very comfortable giving you a full no-trade, and we wouldn't have to have this discussion.'" Anthopoulos said it's very hard to trade his best players though, as it's usually a case of creating a new hole in order to fill an existing one.
  • The Blue Jays are encouraged by the strong second-half showings of Dickey and Buehrle and will likely look to add another arm to the rotation via free agency or trade.

Blue Jays Outright Ricky Romero

The Blue Jays announced via press release that the team has outrighted struggling pitcher Ricky Romero off of the club's 40-man roster. The move was made to open a roster spot for righty Ramon Ortiz. Romero will continue to pitch in Triple-A, having already been optioned to the minors. 

Notably, as Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star tweets, Romero had to pass through waivers before he could be outrighted. That means that every MLB club passed on the chance to take on Romero's contract. The former Opening Day starter is in the midst of what seemed to be a team-friendly five-year, $30.1MM extension (which included a 2016 club option at $13.1MM) that he inked in August of 2011.

Looking back one year after that deal was signed, both team and player seemed happy. Now, however, Romero's well-documented struggles make the remainder of the contract look like an unwelcome burden to the Jays. After an abysmal 2012 season and poor spring saw Romero begin the year in the low minors, he was called up for two ill-fated big league starts. The former staff ace allowed five walks, seven hits, and six earned runs over just 4 1/3 innings in those outings, and has continued to struggle since being demoted to Triple-A. With Romero no longer clogging up a roster spot, the team will have little incentive but to remain patient and allow him to try and work his way back to form.

AL East Notes: Orioles, Yankees, Romero

The home run by the Athletics' Adam Rosales that never was on Wednesday could become the shot heard around the world in the debate over instant replay. Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle are both advocating for a five-man umpiring crew. Haudricourt rebuts arguments that it is too expensive to add a fifth umpire or too time consuming to expand replay noting MLB is an $8B industry and the discussions over blown calls waste more time than a replay. Slusser supports a fifth umpire to monitor games from a booth in the press box and a neutral crew in New York of perhaps three people to have access to all available replay angles and make the final call on all video reviews. John Shea, Slusser's colleague at the Chronicle, doesn't believe expanded replay will help immediately because, until umpires are better held accountable for their errors, you cannot trust the people overseeing the system. Let's review the news from the American League East:

  • Wei-Yin Chen left today's game with what the Orioles are calling a strained right oblique although the lefty hopes it is only a cramp and will be evaluated on their off day, tweets Britt Ghiroli of MLB.com. The Orioles have several in-house options, if Chen lands on the disabled list, tweets CSNBaltimore.com's Rich Dubroff, including Jair Jurrjens, who has a June 15 opt-out clause. Jake Arrieta, another possible in-house candidate, did not make his scheduled start in Triple-A today because of a tender shoulder, reports Roch Kubatko of MASN.com (via Twitter)
  • The Yankees will soon face some tough decisions regarding roster spots and playing time as several of their injured players are nearing a return to action, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
  • The Blue Jays will remain patient with Ricky Romero because of the $23.1MM guaranteed the left-hander through 2015, even if it is just to make him attractive in a trade, according to the Toronto Star's Richard Griffin. That patience will be further tested by Romero's dismal debut at Triple-A Buffalo yesterday: six runs allowed on ten hits with five walks, a balk, and a wild pitch in 3 2/3 innings. "I guess it’s a little disappointing to see those numbers but I know he’s still working hard and I still think he’s on the right path,” Blue Jays pitching coach Pete Walker told Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca.

Blue Jays Designate Justin Germano For Assignment

The Blue Jays have designated Justin Germano for assignment, according to the club's official transactions page.  In a related move, Toronto has recalled fellow pitcher Ricky Romero from the minors.

The 30-year-old Germano has appeared in one game for the Jays this season after signing a minor-league deal with the club in the offseason.  Toronto promoted him on April 27 after they designated fellow pitcher Aaron Laffey for assignment.

Germano pitched 23 innings for Triple-A Buffalo this year while posting a 6.65 ERA, 5.9 K/9, and 0.8 BB/9.  The righty has also pitched for the Padres, Reds, Indians, Red Sox, and Cubs over the course of his big league career, compiling a 5.29 career ERA with 5.7 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 along the way.

The Blue Jays optioned Romero to High-A Dunedin in late March in an effort to get his mechanics ironed out.  The pitcher is owed $7.5MM in each of the next three seasons and Toronto was willing to be patient with him as he worked through his issues.

Shi Davidi of Sportsnet (on Twitter) reported yesterday that the Blue Jays were gearing up to designate Germano for assignment in order to make room for Romero.