It looks like the Tampa Bay Rays have made a much-needed addition to their bullpen. They have reportedly agreed to terms on a one-year contract with right-handed pitcher Sergio Romo, pending a physical. Financial terms of the agreement are not yet known.
Source: Veteran pitcher Sergio Romo has agreed to a one-year Major League contract with the Rays. The deal is pending a physical.
— Jesse Sanchez (@JesseSanchezMLB) February 9, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays Re-Sign Sergio Romo
Last offseason, Romo, who turns 35 in March, left the San Francisco Giants after nine seasons and three World Series rings to join the Los Angeles Dodgers. Romo struggled in L.A., and was designated for assignment in July. In 25 innings over 30 appearances as a Dodger, Romo posted a 6.12 ERA and a 5.76 FIP. Though Romo struck out 31 batters in those 25 innings for the Dodgers, he also issued 12 walks and gave up seven home runs.
Looking for bullpen help, the Rays took a chance on Romo after he was let go by the Dodgers, and he turned things around significantly in Tampa Bay. In 30.2 innings over 25 appearances, Romo posted a 1.47 ERA and a 2.96 FIP. His control improved after the trade, as he issued just seven walks, cutting his rate per nine innings from 4.32 as a Dodger to 2.05 as a Ray. The home runs also came back under control, as he gave up just two, cutting his rate per nine innings from 2.52 as a Dodger to 0.59 as a Ray. His strikeout rate dipped a bit, but remained solid, going from 11.16 per nine innings as a Dodger to 8.22 as a Ray.
A .218 batting average on balls in play helped keep Romo’s ERA with the Rays so low, but he still legitimately pitched very well for them. Romo has a long history of being an effective reliever, with a 2.69 ERA and a 2.88 FIP over 495.1 career innings. He was going through a rough stretch of getting bitten by the long ball in Los Angeles, but the Rays made a smart bet that it wouldn’t continue.
We talked about Tampa Bay’s bullpen recently when discussing a potential Alex Colome trade. The Rays have a very inexperienced, unproven bullpen, making Romo a welcome re-addition to it. If the Rays do end up trading Colome now, there would seem to be a pretty good chance that Romo would take over as their closer. Romo has 84 career saves, including a 38-save season for the Giants in 2013. If the Rays keep Colome, then Romo should help provide the Rays with someone in the bullpen they can rely on to help bridge games from their starter to Colome, which is something they struggled with for much of last season.
This move comes after the Rays made another potential bullpen addition earlier in the week. On Tuesday, the team agreed to a minor-league contract with right-handed pitcher Evan Scribner. The contract also has an invitation to Spring Training. Scribner, 32, has a 4.15 ERA in 169 career innings in 145 appearances. He’s pitched in parts of seven MLB seasons, spending time with the San Diego Padres, Oakland Athletics, and Seattle Mariners. Injuries have limited Scribner to just 20 MLB appearances over the last two seasons.