Blue Jays: Jordan Romano opts out of World Baseball Classic
Jordan Romano, the Blue Jays' relief ace and primary closer, has reportedly opted out of this year's World Baseball Classic.
Romano, 29, had previously committed to pitching for Team Italy in the event since his father is from Italy, but it appears these plans are no more. He reportedly also received a formal offer from Team Canada, his home team, but turned it down.
Romano appeared for Team Italy back in the 2017 World Baseball Classic and was approached by the club once again for the 2023 installment. He told Hazel Mae of Sportsnet that he wanted to re-join the club out of loyalty for giving him a chance last time around.
For reasons currently unknown, he has instead chosen to report directly to Blue Jays Spring Training instead of participating in this event.
Losing Romano will be a huge blow for Italy, as he has become one of the better relief pitchers in all of Major League Baseball. Last season for the Jays, he made his first career All-Star Game and made a total of 63 appearances, posting a 2.11 ERA with 36 saves and a 185 ERA+.
He is set to have a much better supporting staff in this year's bullpen as Erik Swanson was acquired via trade to shore up the backend of the 'pen. Chad Green was recently signed to a multi-year deal as well and will surely be an important piece once he returns from injury.
With Romano's removal from the World Baseball Classic, only three players on the big league roster for the Jays remain, as well as two minor leaguers.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Yimi García are both set to represent the Dominican Republic while starting pitcher José Berríos is going to be on the Team Puerto Rico.
On the minor league side of things, 20-year-old outfielder Jaden Rudd is going to be on the United Kingdom's team while 26-year-old infielder/catcher Jesus Lopez is going to be on Team Nicaragua.