One time Blue Jays’ ace, Ricky Romero, was released by the San Francisco Giants organization on Saturday. Romero had been pitching for their Triple A affiliate, the Sacramento River Cats.
Back in 2005, the Blue Jays drafted a left-handed starter by the name of Ricky Romero, taking him 6th overall. The selection was criticized, especially early in Romero’s career, as he was selected ahead of several talented players, including current Blue Jay Troy Tulowitzki, who was taken 7th by the Colorado Rockies.
Fast forward to today, and Romero was released by the San Francisco Giants organization, as he was trying to work his way back to the big leagues. Romero has never been quite the same since his season went rapidly downhill in 2012, and he’s only pitched 8.1 big league innings since then.
Romero had been pitching for the Sacramento River Cats, the Triple A affiliate of the Giants, and had been struggling once again to begin the season. He finished his tenure with the River Cats with a 6.75 ERA in 14.2 innings, as he was unable to provide enough value to justify keeping him around, even in the minor league ranks.
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Romero’s fall from grace was one of the more unexpected ones in recent Blue Jays history. After taking a while to develop as a minor leaguer, he eventually put everything together and finished the 2011 season with a 15-11 record and a 2.92 ERA in 32 starts and 225 innings pitched. He had become the unquestioned ace of the Blue Jays staff and was the opening day starter in 2012.
In 2012, things continued to unravel for the California native, as he battled knee injuries and finished 9-14, and his ERA ballooned to 5.77 over 181 innings pitched. There have been conflicting reports of Romero pitching through injuries that season. Romero developed mechanical flaws that he has never been able to correct, and he’s been unable to regain the form that saw him as an All-Star in 2011.
Still just 32 years old, Romero will likely look for another organization that is willing to give him a chance to find his old form. The Blue Jays once believed in him enough to reward him with a 5 year, 30.1 million dollar contract,
As they say, you can never have enough left-handed pitching, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get a chance somewhere, but he may have to look at something like pitching as a left-handed specialist in order to find his way back to the big leagues, if he’s ever able to do so.