Prior to yesterday’s Hot Stove Luncheon in Buffalo, Toronto Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos addressed the media about a number of issues, including the team’s continuing search for pitching. Hidden among the rehashed bits about both the trade and free agent markets still being too high to make a deal, Anthopoulos dropped another small nugget (h/t Shi Davidi).
Ricky Romero, while not currently a part of the plans, is not a forgotten man.
In the discussion, Anthopoulos acknowledged that he while Romero is not currently seen as a realistic option for the open Jays rotation spot(s), that could change in a hurry.
“The way he performs in camp or once the minor-league season begins can change all that in a hurry. Brett Cecil, to a lesser degree, was a wild card at camp last year, just barely made the team, and emerged into an all-star”, said Anthopoulos.
Now, Ricky Romero has been discussed ad nauseum, with many a pundit trying to find a way to fix him. Jays Journal staff writer Justin Jay even took his swing at the matter at the end of December, feeling that Romero’s issues were three-fold, citing his pre-2009 innings total, his release point, and physical conditioning as likely culprits behind Romero’s sharp decline.
That said, Romero is still just 29-years-old and despite his blips in 2012 and 2013, owns a lifetime ERA of 4.16, a K/9 ratio of 7.0, and an incredibly competitive pedigree. Whether he can push past the mental side of failure will determine what kind of pitcher Ricky Romero really is. Will he persevere and return to the 15-11 ace with a 2.92 ERA and a 54.7% ground-ball rate, or will he continue to revert to the pitcher that posted a 5.83 ERA in 128 innings across two minor league levels and 4 scattered Major League appearances last season?
“At any point in time if Romero bounces back, it wouldn’t surprise me. Scott Kazmir is out of the game for the past two years and Romero’s had as much success as anybody. I don’t know when it’s going to come back, but we believe it will.”
The Blue Jays may secretly hope for a Kazmir-type rebound, but they aren’t going to stand around with their hands tied to him either. A Romero rebound will be a welcome site, but for now, it remains a pipe dream.