The Twins announced Monday that they’ve claimed righty Jhon Romero off waivers from the Nationals and, in a corresponding move, placed right-hander Randy Dobnak on the 60-day injured list. Dobnak is still dealing with the effects of a strain in the middle finger on his pitching hand that he suffered last summer.
Romero has five big league innings under his belt, all coming with Washington within the final couple weeks of last season. The 27-year-old showed a three-pitch mix, averaging 94.5 MPH on his four-seam with a slider and changeup that both checked in around 85 MPH. While his big league body of work was too limited on which to draw any meaningful conclusions, he did have an excellent season in the high minors.
The Colombia native split the year between Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Rochester, spending the bulk of the season at the lower level. He tossed 55 cumulative innings across 38 appearances, posting a 2.62 ERA with an excellent 30.5% strikeout percentage and a minuscule 4.9% walk rate. That earned him a late-season call with a Washington club that had a very thin relief corps by the end of the year. However, he didn’t stick on the Nats 40-man roster all winter, as they designated him for assignment last week upon finalizing their one-year deal with Nelson Cruz.
The Twins will take a low-risk dice roll on Romero on the heels of his strong minor league campaign. He still has all option years remaining, so Minnesota can stash him with Triple-A St. Paul for the foreseeable future so long as they keep him on their 40-man.
Dobnak posted quality numbers through his first two big league seasons, combining for a 3.12 ERA despite a subpar strikeout rate on account of excellent control and ground-ball numbers. Minnesota signed him to a five-year, $9.25MM extension last spring, but his 2021 season was a disaster. He was tagged for a 7.64 ERA in 50 2/3 innings. Dobnak spent most of the second half of the season on the injured list with the aforementioned finger strain, returning for one appearance in September before going back on the shelf.
The hope had been that Dobnak would bounce back this year, but the team shut him down over the weekend due to continued soreness in the area. There’s no clear timetable for his return, but he’ll miss at least the first two months of the season.