Toronto Blue Jays: Former pitcher Ricky Romero calls it a career


What once looked like a promising big league career turned into a quick free fall for Ricky Romero. He announced his retirement on Tuesday.

Ironically enough, one of the most criticized draft picks in Blue Jays history would be when they passed on Troy Tulowitzki and instead selected Ricky Romero in the 2005 amateur draft. It took a while for Romero to show fans why the Blue Jays selected him, but in time the selection wouldn’t look as bad as it did while he was still a minor leaguer.

There was a time when Romero looked like he would be a front of the rotation starter in the big leagues for the long haul, and then unfortunately things fell apart for him at a relatively young age. On Tuesday, Romero announced that at age 34, he is retiring from the game of baseball.

He’s been bouncing around the minor leagues for a few seasons now trying to make a comeback, but he’s actually only ever appeared in a Blue Jay uniform in the big leagues. He was a member of the rotation for parts of 2009-2013, and finished his career with a 51-45 record and a 4.16 ERA  in 129 career appearances, 127 starts.

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He best season came back in 2011, and at the time he was the de facto ace of the Blue Jays’ staff, especially after Roy Halladay was traded to Philadelphia. That year Romero went 15-11 with a 2.92 ERA and a 1.138 WHIP in 225 innings pitched. He earned his first and only All-Star appearance that year and even received some Cy Young consideration, finished tenth in the voting.  A little more than a year later, his career was all but over.

Part way through the 2012 season he started having more serious issues with his knees, and by the time 2013 rolled around he couldn’t even hold down a spot in the rotation anymore. It was a sad transformation, especially for a pitcher who had worked so hard to get to a dominant point pitching against AL East competition, and one who was still young at 28 years old. That was the last season we would see him on a big league mound.

The San Francisco Giants took a chance on him with a minor league deal, and he worked hard to get back in their system over the last few years, but unfortunately his body just wouldn’t cooperate. It’s a good reminder that a career as a professional athlete is a very finite thing, and that you just never know how things are going to work out in the long term. His career is also a good reminder of the danger of investing long term in a pitcher, as things can change in a real hurry if health becomes a factor.

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I’ve always rooted for Romero and hoped that he would make a comeback, but unfortunately it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. Instead, I hope the southpaw can enjoy his retirement and rest easy knowing that he very hard to get back to the big leagues, and that sometimes it’s just not meant to be.