After reports the teams were close to a deal, the Los Angeles Dodgers have reached an agreement with right-handed reliever Sergio Romo, per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have agreed to sign Sergio Romo in order to bolster the back-end of the team’s bullpen leading to closer Kenley Jansen. Romo missed time with the San Francisco Giants in 2016, but was effective when on the mound.
According to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, the deal is for one year and $3 million with incentives.
In 30.2 innings, the 33-year-old posted a 2.64 ERA with a 3.80 FIP, 9.68 strikeouts per nine innings and just 2.05 walks per nine. Since his debut in 2008, Romo has been among the most effective right-handed relievers in the game.
From 2010-2015, Romo posted a 2.48 ERA while striking out 391 batters to just 63 walks in 341 innings pitched. For a short time in 2013 and 2014, Romo was the Giants’ closer – but ultimately lost the role during 2014 when he struggled with giving up home runs.
But since returning to the setup role, Romo has been just as dominant as he was early in his career. Despite his age, Call to the Pen’s Sunit Bhakta noted that since Romo isn’t a power pitcher, his throwing motion will likely hold up as he ages.
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Romo’s changeup and slider complement a high-80s fastball, which should bode well as he returns from an elbow injury last season. His fastball velocity dropped about two miles per hour last season, but it’s likely due to the elbow injury he struggled with throughout the season.
Before the deal, the Dodgers didn’t have many certainties in their bullpen outside of Jansen. Adam Liberatore, Pedro Baez and Luis Avilan represented three of the Dodgers’ best options to hold down the seventh and eighth innings, but Romo’s experience will likely give him the edge in spring training.
Given his experience – with three World Series titles to his name – Romo will likely see time in plenty of high leverage situations. Rather than spending on a big name early in the offseason, the Dodgers may have found one of the better bargains of the offseason as they look to make another deep playoff push this season.
Despite his age and a drop in velocity, Romo’s reliance on other pitches and postseason experience make him a potentially valuable contributor for the Dodgers bullpen.