JUNE 29: Toronto officially announced Romo’s signing Wednesday after he passed his physical. Righty Shaun Anderson was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo to clear active roster space, while reliever Tayler Saucedo was transferred to the 60-day injured list. Saucedo has already missed two months with right hip discomfort, so his transfer is a procedural move that won’t affect his eligibility to return. He’s on a minor league rehab assignment with Buffalo and figures to be reinstated within the next two weeks.
JUNE 27: The Blue Jays are signing veteran right-hander Sergio Romo to a Major League contract, reports Jon Heyman of the New York Post (Twitter link). The Meister Sports client was designated for assignment and subsequently released by the Mariners last week. As such, Seattle will be on the hook for the majority of Romo’s $2MM salary. The Jays will only owe him the prorated portion of the league minimum for any time spent on the MLB roster.
Romo, 39, yielded just one run through his first eight innings with the Mariners this season before melting down for five runs in two-thirds of an inning against the Orioles on the first of this month. That proved to be the start of a catastrophic collapse that saw the former Giants closer and three-time World Series champ yield a dozen runs over the course of just 6 1/3 innings. He allowed runs in five of his final nine appearances as a Mariner and ultimately finished his Seattle tenure with a grisly 8.16 ERA in 14 1/3 innings.
That said, Romo posted decent numbers with the 2021 A’s and the 2020 Twins, logging a combined 4.52 ERA with a 24.1% strikeout rate and 8.0% walk rate in 81 2/3 frames during that time. This season’s struggles came as he threw his signature slider at a 46.9% clip that represents his lowest usage of the pitch since way back in 2010. That slider has typically made Romo a death knell for opposing righties — career .204/.248/.356 slash line — but right-handed batters have uncharacteristically decimated Romo so far in 2022. It’s only a sample of 38 plate appearances, but righties have turned in a dominant .353/.395/.794 batting line when facing Romo this season. The Jays surely have some ideas on how to right that worrisome trend.
Romo’s addition comes at a time when the Jays have seen their in-house bullpen options thinned out dramatically in just a matter of weeks. Since June 8, they’ve lost lefty Andrew Vasquez (ankle sprain) and right-handers Trevor Richards (neck strain), Julian Merryweather (oblique strain), Yimi Garcia (back strain) and Nate Pearson (lat strain) to injuries. There’s no real risk from a financial standpoint, and if Romo’s struggles continue following a change of scenery, he can be quickly phased out in favor of an in-house option or a potential trade acquisition.