The Royals announced that they’ve claimed left-hander Enny Romero off waivers from the Pirates. Right-hander Blaine Boyer was transferred from the 10-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list in order to open a spot on the 40-man roster for Romero.
The 27-year-old Romero opened the season with the Nationals but was designated for assignment after just two innings of work. The Pirates plucked him off waivers but tried to designate him a second time just weeks later, but it turned out that Romero had an impingement in his left shoulder that resulted in him being placed on the disabled list. Upon sufficiently rehabbing the injury, Romero was activated and subsequently designated for assignment.
Romero was among the harder-throwing lefty relievers in the league for the Nationals last season but saw his average fastball velocity drop from 98 mph in 2017 to 95.1 mph in 2018. That, granted, came in a small sample of six innings, but Romero’s velocity was never at this low of a point throughout the 2017 season. To this point in the year, he’s yielded five runs on a dozen hits and four walks with seven strikeouts in six innings.
The 2017 season was a solid one for Romero, however, as he worked to a 3.56 ERA with 10.5 K/9, 3.7 BB/9, 1.13 HR/9 and a 39 percent ground-ball rate through 55 2/3 innings of relief. In 142 career innings at the MLB level, Romero has a 4.69 ERA with plenty of missed bats (9.7 K/9) but far too many walks (4.6 BB/9). Unlike many lefty relievers, Romero has been more effective against right-handed batters (.240/.325/.379) than he has against left-handed batters (.312/.392/.463).
Romero entered the season with just over two years of Major League service time, so if he can turn things around in Kansas City, he’ll be a controllable bullpen piece for the Royals through the 2021 season. He’d be eligible for arbitration this winter. Romero is out of minor league options, however, so he’ll need to hold down a spot on the big league roster or else clear waivers before he can be sent to Triple-A.