The bullpen for the Washington Nationals is deeper after the team acquired Enny Romero from the Tampa Bay Rays. Washington gave up a low-level prospect.
Romero figures to be the third left in Dusty Baker’s seven-man bullpen, provided Romero makes the team. If he does not, he is out of minor-league options and must clear waivers before heading to Triple-A Syracuse.
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Romero throws hard, around 96 with his four-seamer, but cannot control it. In 45.2 innings with the Rays last year, he walked 28. Although he struck out 50, his control and BAbip of .294 led to a WHIP of 1.533 and an ERA of 5.91. At 26, do not expect miracles.
The good news is he has yet to hit arbitration and I under team control through the 2021 season. The bad news is Romero was overmatched in Tampa and may have hit his ceiling.
With Sammy Solis and Oliver Perez already on the 25-man roster—and Neal Cotts invited to camp for an audition—Romero has his hands full just to make the team. If there is a silver lining, the ballparks of the National League East are friendlier than their American League counterparts.
If the thought is with Washington to use him as that lefty to get out one guy, or LOOGY, then they should look elsewhere. Against righties, he had a stingy .217 batting average. He also surrendered five home runs out of seven. Lefties hit him at a .288 clip last year.
Leaving Tampa’s Tropicana Field might help as his home OBA was .304 with a 9.78 ERA. Yet, the Trop is a pitcher-friendly yard. Another red flag for fans is Tampa rarely gives up players with long amounts of team control. Romero has five full seasons before he hits free agency. In essence, the Rays took a struggling Rosa from rookie ball.
Because the Rays added Logan Morrison back to the fold, the 40-man was full for Tampa and Romero became a casualty. The Nats threw in a warm body and now he is a Washington pitcher.
If, and that is a big one, pitching guru Mike Maddux can harness Romero’s wildness into an asset then the Nationals have done well with yet another reclamation project. One of them will surprise people and work.
Instead, the likely outcome is Romero earns his spot on the roster and causes a collective breath-holding every time he takes the mound. Striking out 9.9-per-nine is good, the baggage with it is not.