Former Mariners outfielder Stefen Romero has signed with the Orix Buffaloes of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced. It’s a one-year contract, per Nate Heisler, Romero’s representative at REP1 Baseball (Twitter link).
Romero spent the 2017-19 seasons with the Buffaloes before signing with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles this past winter. In four seasons at Japan’s highest level, he has slashed .269/.337/.505 and hit 93 home runs over 1660 plate appearances. The 32-year-old has been particularly productive over the past two seasons, which led some MLB clubs to explore bringing him back to the United States this offseason. Instead, Romero will stay in Japan for the fifth consecutive year, returning to his original NPB organization.
A fairly well-regarded prospect in his Mariners’ days, Romero saw MLB time with Seattle between 2014-16. He managed a .195/.242/.307 line in 233 major league plate appearances.