Blue Jays Sign Sergio Romo

JUNE 29: Toronto officially announced Romo’s signing on Wednesday after passing his medical. right handed Shaun Anderson was chosen for Triple-A Buffalo to free up space on the active roster, while the reliever Saucedo Tayler was transferred to the 60-day injured list. Saucedo has already missed two months with right hip discomfort, so his transfer is a procedural decision that will not affect his eligibility to return. He’s in minor league rehab with Buffalo and is expected to be reinstated within the next two weeks.

JUNE 27: Blue Jays sign right-handed veteran Sergio Roma to a Major League contract, reports Jon Heyman of the New York Post (Twitter link). Client Meister Sports was designated for assignment and then released by the Mariners last week. As such, Seattle will be responsible for the majority of Romo’s $2 million salary. The Jays will only owe him the pro-rated portion of the league minimum for any time on the MLB roster.

Romo, 39, gave up just one run in his first eight innings with the Mariners this season before dropping for five runs in two-thirds of an inning against the Orioles on the first of this month. It turned out to be the start of a catastrophic slump that saw the former Giants closer and three-time World Series champion produce a dozen runs in just 6 1/3 innings. He allowed runs in five of his last nine appearances as a Mariner and eventually finished his tenure in Seattle with a grisly 8.16 ERA over 14 1/3 innings.

That said, Romo posted decent numbers with the 2021 A’s and 2020 Twins, clocking a combined 4.52 ERA with a 24.1% strikeout rate and 8.0% walk rate in 81 2/ 3 images during this period. This season’s struggles came as he tossed his signature slider to a clip of 46.9% which represents his lowest use of the pitch since 2010. That slider has generally made Romo a death knell for opposing right-handers – career .204/.248/. 356 slash line – but right-handed hitters have uncharacteristically decimated Romo so far in 2022. That’s just a sample of 38 board appearances, but right-handers have shot in a dominant .353/ slash line. 395 / .794 against Romo this season. Surely the Jays have ideas on how to fix this disturbing trend.

Romo’s addition comes at a time when the Jays have seen their inside bullpen options dwindle dramatically in just a few weeks. Since June 8, they have lost left-handed Andre Vasquez (ankle sprain) and right-handers Trevor Richard (neck sprain), Julien Merryweather (oblique deformation), Yimi Garcia (back pain) and Nate Pearson (lat strain) to wounds. There’s no real risk from a financial standpoint, and if Romo’s difficulties continue after a change of scenery, he can be quickly phased out in favor of an in-house option or possible business acquisition.

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