The Nationals have released left-hander Seth Romero after he was charged with driving while intoxicated in Texas, reports Jesse Dougherty of The Washington Post. This is Romero’s second DWI charge of year, with the first coming in January.
Romero is a former first-round pick. Despite being twice suspended and eventually dismissed from the University of Houston baseball team during the spring of his draft year, the southpaw landed in Washington with the 25th overall pick in the 2017 draft. Baseball America’s scouting report at the time noted Romero could’ve gone in the top 10 if not for questions about his maturity level, as he boasted a mid-90s fastball with an excellent slider.
The 6’3″ hurler was slowed by injuries on his way up the minor league ladder, including a 2020 surgery to repair a right hand fracture and an extended absence to start this past season on account of a left calf strain. Romero did make it to the big leagues in Washington but only briefly, appearing in three games and tossing 2 2/3 innings of relief during the shortened 2020 season. His fastball averaged just 91.7 MPH in short stints, a notable dip from where he’d sat at the peak of his prospect hype.
Romero had held his spot on Washington’s 40-man roster until today, although he’s spent the past two years either on the injured list or on optional assignment to the minor leagues. He made five starts this year at Double-A Harrisburg, allowing six runs and walking 11 but striking out 25 in 13 2/3 innings. His upper minors inconsistency could’ve had him on the roster bubble this winter independent of the legal issues he’s now facing, but the Nationals decided to officially move on after he was reportedly arrested yesterday. He’ll be placed on waivers and, if he goes unclaimed, will become a free agent.
The move opens a spot on the Nationals 40-man roster. That count now sits at 38 heading into tomorrow’s deadline to add players to the roster to keep them from selection in the Rule 5 draft.