At one point, the former sixth-overall draft pick looked to be among the game’s better young pitchers — a quality rotation piece who could handle a big innings load, even if not an ace. But his career spun out in surprisingly quick and conclusive fashion, and he was never able to get it going again.
Upon breaking into the majors in 2009, Romero turned in a string of productive seasons, improving his bottom-line results as he went. He inked a $30.1MM extension in the midst of the 2010 campaign, a significant contract that nevertheless seemed destined to be a good one for the organization after the ensuing campaign.
Romero’s third season in the majors was his best — a 225-inning, 2.92 ERA gem in 2011. He earned an All-Star nod and placed tenth in the American League Cy Young voting. Though he was not then and never would be much of a strikeout pitcher, Romero induced loads of grounders (54.7%) and certainly seemed capable of continuing to deliver strong results for years to come.
Unfortunately, disaster struck in 2012. Romero pitched a full season, but that may not have been wise. As he discussed with Vice Sports more recently, he was battling through pain over the course of that season. Romero ended the year with a 5.77 ERA, an ugly combination of 6.2 K/9 and 5.2 BB/9, and lingering health issues — he ultimately required surgery for matching torn quad tendons — that he never fully recovered from.
As it turned out, Romero would only throw 7 1/3 MLB frames after the end of his age-27 season. The Blue Jays ended up cutting their losses and absorbing the remainder of the money they owed Romero. He ended up landing with the Giants in an effort to find himself, but never managed to gain traction during his three years with the organization. A brief run in the Mexican League also fizzled out.
As the above-linked piece documents, Romero had tried more recently to get on track by engaging a few trusted advisers and trying to get his flow back. Obviously, that attempt did not enable the southpaw to make it back to the major league hill, but it certainly can’t be said that he fell short for a lack of trying. MLBTR wishes Romero the best in his future undertakings.