The Mariners announced this afternoon they’ve signed reliever Sal Romano to a minor league deal with an invitation to big league Spring Training. Seattle will be the right-hander’s fourth different organization in the past twelve months, as he bounced around the league fairly frequently last season.
Romano began the year with the Reds but found himself outrighted off the roster in mid-May after a rough start to the year. He signed a minor league deal with the Yankees and was selected onto their big league roster in July, but he found himself designated for assignment within two weeks. This time, the Brewers claimed him off waivers, but they outrighted him themselves after he made just one appearance. Upon electing free agency, Romano returned to the Yankees, where he remained until being released in September.
Between the three clubs, the former 23rd-round pick tallied 25 innings over 19 appearances. The bulk of that work came during his first month and a half in Cincinnati, and he finished the season with a 6.12 ERA. Romano’s 14.4% strikeout percentage and 5% swinging strike rate were each among the lower marks in the league for relievers.
The past few seasons have been a struggle for Romano. After breaking into the majors with a 4.45 ERA over 16 starts for the Reds in 2017, he owns a 5.59 mark in 188 1/3 MLB frames over the past four years. Romano has moved to relief in that time, and while he’s yet to find much success in the role at the highest level, he did post a 3.56 ERA over 30 1/3 innings with the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre last season. Romano also averaged nearly 95 MPH on his heater during his big league time, so he’d add a live arm to the middle innings mix for skipper Scott Servais if he can crack the big league club.