Sal Romano has rejected an outright assignment in favor of free agency, the Yankees announced. New York designated the right-hander for assignment last week and passed him through outright waivers not long after.
The move concludes Romano’s second stint in the Yankees’ organization. He signed a minor league deal with New York in May and was selected to the big league club a couple months later. The Yankees placed on waivers after just two games, where he was claimed by the Brewers. His stint in Milwaukee lasted only a week, though, and he elected free agency after being designated for assignment to re-sign with the Yankees on another minors deal. Romano was selected back to the roster, made just one big league appearance, and was again outrighted and will hit the open market.
It has been a whirlwind of a season for Romano, who opened the year with the Reds. He struggled over fourteen appearances with Cincinnati, working to a 5.23 ERA in 20 2/3 innings with underwhelming peripherals. The Reds designated him for assignment a few weeks into the season, leading to his active past few months on the MLBTR pages. Before this year, Romano had been a career-long Red, joining the organization as a 23rd-round pick in the 2011 draft.
Romano broke into the majors as a starter, tossing 218 1/3 innings of 5.07 ERA ball out of the rotation over his first couple seasons. He’s worked exclusively out of the bullpen in the three years since but has struggled even more in shorter stints. Over 56 2/3 career frames of relief, the 27-year-old owns a 5.72 ERA with a below-average 16.8% strikeout rate.
Nevertheless, Romano has continued to intrigue teams with his mid-90s sinker — as his bounce around the league indicates. Romano also showed quite well with the Yankees’ top affiliate in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he tossed 30 1/3 frames of 3.56 ERA ball and racked up grounders at a massive 59.1% clip. That showing should attract interest elsewhere, although Romano won’t be eligible for postseason play since he’s hitting free agency after August 31.