After signing a minor league deal with the Nationals in the offseason, left-handed reliever J.C. Romerohas chosen to opt out of his contract with the Nationals and become a free agent. Romero’s deal stipulated that he could opt out if he was not on the Major League roster by June 1st.
Romero signed with the Nationals after allowing two runs in 4.2 IP for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic. The 37-year-old struggled in the 2012 regular season, with a 9.00 ERA in 12 innings with the St. Louis Cardinals and Baltimore Orioles, but fared reasonably well in his time at AAA Syracuse. He had a 2.84 ERA in 12.2 innings with a 4.00 K/BB, but went on the DL May 8th and has yet to return.
In the meantime, the Nationals have promoted three relievers ahead of him, two of whom are lefties: Xavier Cedeno, Fernando Abad, and Erik Davis. Romero clearly recognized that it would take a miracle for him to be promoted beyond them when he returns to health, and his comments on the opt-out reflect that: “There’s nothing more that I could prove in Triple A… I got to look for my best opportunity to go back to the big leagues and help the club.”