Former Mariners outfielder Stefen Romero has agreed to terms with the Orix Buffaloes of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link). The Mariners announced last week that they were releasing Romero so that he could pursue an opportunity in Asia, and Rosenthal reports that he’ll receive a seven-figure guarantee with his new team.
Romero, 28, was one of the Mariners’ top prospects from 2012-14 but struggled quite a bit in his big league debut back in 2014, hitting just .192/.234/.299 with three homers in 190 plate appearances. He tallied another 43 plate appearances across the next two seasons but wasn’t able to do anything to further his case for big league playing time. All told, he’s a .195/.242/.307 hitter in the Majors. However, he’ll head to Japan with a career .299/.347/.514 batting line and 61 homers across 1552 plate appearances at the Triple-A level and will have the opportunity to earn considerably more overseas than he would have had he remained stateside.
Romero, who was out of minor league options and would’ve had to break camp with the big league club or be exposed to waivers, was a long shot to stick on the 25-man roster all season. And even if he did, he’d have earned a shade over $500K, so he’ll come out considerably ahead in this deal and still have the opportunity to return to the Majors later in his career if he performs well in NPB.