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J.C. Romero Is Still An Option

Posted By Bill Baer On December 20, 2010 @ 3:55 pm In Baseball Prospectus,MLB,Philadelphia Phillies,Sabermetrics | 11 Comments

In his live chat at Baseball Prospectus today, I asked Eric Seidman about the Phillies’ LOOGY options and who he prefers. He said:

Dennys Reyes. Oh wait, nevermind. Scott Eyre still retired? How about the J.C. Romero from 2007? I think Joe Beimel would be a good fit. I’d also take a flier on Ron Mahay. Realistically, I’d be more comfortable forgoing the idea of a LOOGY and just building a solid overall bullpen. And as iffy as Romero looked last year, he still finished 2nd to Boone Logan in my 2010 LOOGY Awards, which measured the numbers lefty batters produced against a lefty specialist, relative to how those same batters performed against all other lefty pitchers. Maybe bring him back at a bargain price.

You may recall that in late March, I argued that Romero should be used strictly as a LOOGY. He is garbage against right-handed batters but has shown a legitimate ability to dominate left-handed hitters. If the Phillies are simply looking for a LOOGY, why not take another shot with Romero? Romero still wants to be a Phillie, after all:

“Maybe this is a door that opens for me to go back to Philly,” said Romero, the Phillies’ top lefty reliever the last four seasons with a 2.60 ERA over 260 relief appearances since 2007. “I hope so. My family loves it in Philly. I love it in Philly. I hope it works out and I can be back there. I felt they were closing the door for me when they signed Dennys, but everything happens for a reason.”

Here are the facts, using Romero’s career splits:

  • vs. RHB: 6.8 K/9, 6.9 BB/9, .292 BABIP, 5.34 xFIP
  • vs. LHB: 8.2 K/9, 3.9 BB/9, .266 BABIP, 3.61 xFIP

Romero made over $4 million in 2010, but he is now 34 years old, has an injury history, and he will be used sparingly as the situations allow. A pay cut is absolutely defensible and Romero realizes it:

“You have to understand that I’m not asking for $4 million,” Romero said. “That’s what I made at my best. It’s not like I’m expensive right now.”

Romero noticed that Lee left money on the table to return to Philly. He hinted that he’d do the same.

“What Mr. Cliff Lee did was a class act,” Romero said. “Sometimes being comfortable and in a place where you can make a difference means more than money. Hopefully, the Phillies and my agent will talk again.”

Let’s get this done, Ruben.


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