The Twins are interested in a reunion with right-hander Sergio Romo, tweets Dan Hayes of The Athletic. The veteran righty pitched well in Minnesota upon being acquired prior to the July trade deadline but became a free agent at season’s end.
Romo, 37 in March, was acquired alongside minor league righty Chris Vallimont in a trade that sent minor league first baseman Lewin Diaz to the Marlins. Romo had been throwing well in Miami (3.58 ERA, 7.9 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, 17 saves in 37 2/3 innings) but was even better in 22 2/3 frames as a Twin. Following the trade to Minnesota, Romo notched a 27-to-4 K/BB ratio with a 3.18 ERA as a high-leverage option for manager Rocco Baldelli.
Minnesota will likely be more focused on starting pitching than the bullpen — the Twins have an eye-opening four rotation vacancies — but there’s room to add a couple of relievers as well. Lefty closer Taylor Rogers enjoyed a breakout season in 2019, and the Twins saw the righty trio of Trevor May, Tyler Duffey and Zack Littell dominate over the season’s final two months. Rookie right-hander Cody Stashak, too, was impressive with a 3.24 ERA and a 25-to-1 K/BB ratio in 25 innings upon being promoted to the big leagues. A lefty could be a more sensible fit given the organization’s lack of a southpaw behind Rogers, but the free-agent market is light on quality options and Romo was terrific against left-handed opponents in 2019.
The 2018-19 offseason was a long one for Romo, who, despite a lengthy track record as a quality late-inning reliever, had to wait until Feb. 15 to sign a one-year, $2.5MM deal with the Marlins. He’s coming off a much better showing in 2019 than he had in 2018, however, and the early interest from the Twins would seem to bode well for a more fruitful trip through the free-agent process this time around. Age may limit Romo to a one-year deal again — although two years isn’t impossible to imagine — but he should be in line for a better guarantee this winter. Beyond his superior 2019 performance, this year’s free-agent market for relievers is thinner than last year’s crop and fewer teams are in pure tank/rebuild mode.