DECEMBER 25: The BayStars have announced their agreement with Romero (h/t to the Japan Times). It’s a one-year deal with a club option for 2022. Romero will reportedly make $724,000 next season.
DECEMBER 18, 7:03pm: Romero will sign with the Yokohama BayStars of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball, Dan Hayes of The Athletic tweets. The Twins will receive roughly $300K in return.
DECEMBER 18, 4:15pm: The Twins activated right-hander Fernando Romero from the restricted list and then released him, Chris Miller of the Star Tribune reports. Romero, who is from the Dominican Republic, was unable to secure a visa to the United States last season.
This is certainly not the way the Twins expected their relationship with Romero to end, as he was among their top prospects for multiple seasons. Baseball America ranked Romero as the Twins’ sixth-best farmhand in 2018 and wrote that he could turn into a second or third starter “if he can round out his third pitch.”
The 25-year-old Romero did collect 11 starts with the Twins from 2018-19, during which he averaged about 96 mph on his fastball, but the results weren’t great. He combined for 69 2/3 innings during those seasons and recorded a 5.17 ERA/4.49 FIP with 8.14 K/9, 3.88 BB/9 and a 47.4 percent groundball rate. Romero has been better in Triple-A ball, where he owns a 3.88 ERA and has registered 8.0 K/9 against 3.7 BB/9 in 148 1/3 innings. It’s likely some other team will take a chance on him now that he’s available to sign.