In an announcement that many saw coming, due to poor performance in Spring Training:
— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) March 26, 2013
Most were suspecting an opportunity for Ricky Romero to work on his stuff would be in AAA ball, but instead he’ll get a chance to try to hone his mechanics against A+ league competition. As well, this news means that J.A. Happ will be Toronto’s 5th starter in the Blue Jays’ rotation to start the season, which begins in just a week from now.
Ricky Romero just never got it going in his outings this month. In today’s outing he went 4.1 innings and gave up 6 hits, 3 earned runs, 3 walks and had 2 strikeouts. Plays like a leaping catch by Rajai Davis, a diving stop by Emilio Bonifacio and a line drive directly to Adam Lind for a double play helped keep the pitching line to a more respectable degree, but it was clear to Alex Anthopoulos and the Blue Jays front office that if that was Ricky Romero’s best outing of the Spring, then he was in trouble.
There are some positives to this news. First off, this means that fans won’t have to see 2012 staff ace Ricky Romero get completely shelled every 5 games for the club. Nothing hurts more than to see an organization keep a guy in the majors to protect his ego while he continues to get smacked around. Also, in Romero’s stead will be J.A. Happ, a pitcher who’s been very effective in Spring Training games, with a sub-2 ERA and a healthy 6.6 K/9 rate, as well as keeping the walks to a minimum at just 3 over 19 innings. Gibbons will look to use the hot hand as the 5th starter, and if all goes well Romero will be given the opportunity to start games for the club later in the season, perhaps when the team is ahead in the AL East.
It seems like the Blue Jays will give Ricky Romero as much time as necessary to completely correct his pitching mechanics, which is more great news. There are young pitchers like Sean Nolin and AAA depth like (supposedly) Brad Lincoln, Chad Jenkins and Todd Redmond that will be more than ready to replace any injured starters should the Blue Jays need a starter before Romero would be ready, relieving any pressure to rush himself back to the majors before the time is right.
Ricky Romero seems to be the type of guy who doesn’t take these things personally, as he was not visibly upset at the idea of becoming a 5th starter after he was the team’s ace last year. Hopefully he will see this as more of a challenge to overcome rather than a setback to dwell upon. The Blue Jays are a better team when Romero is a dominant lefty with a wicked changeup that throws strikes. Let’s just hope that he can find that groove again and return to the Blue Jays in no time.