While some might think Seth Romero might help the Washington Nationals bullpen this year, don’t count on it
Yesterday, the Washington Nationals were finally able to sign their first round pick from last month’s draft, Houston left-hander Seth Romero. Jon Heyman of Fanrag Sports was the first to report that the Nats were going to pay him over the slot value of $2.5 million:
Romero’s off-field issues that eventually got him kicked off the Houston baseball team this spring have been well documented. At this point, the Washington Nationals need to hope that the 22-year-old can learn from his mistakes and be a professional.
With the Washington Nationals bullpen problems this year, a lot of people talked about Romero being a possible option to help the bullpen later this year. He does have experience as a reliever from his freshman year when he was the closer.
However, back on draft night, Nats general manager Mike Rizzo told the media to not expect Romero to make his Major League debut this season. Here were his comments courtesy of Todd Dybas of The Washington Times:
"“I’ve never done anything like that where the drafted player gets to the big leagues the year you draft him. I don’t expect that in this scenario. We’re going to develop him at his own pace.”"
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One of the interesting developments from yesterday came in a tweet from Mark Zuckerman of MASN Sports. In that tweet, he pointed out that Romero didn’t get an introductory press conference, which is uncommon with the Washington Nationals
Since Romero hasn’t thrown in a competitive game in May, he needs to get back into a throwing routine and get into games before they even assign him to an affiliate. Now, you could make the case that making Erick Fedde a starter allows Romero to move up as a reliever, but the left-hander needs to start.
Coming into the draft, the Washington Nationals needed to address the starting pitching depth within the organization and they did that as they drafted pitchers in nine of the first ten rounds. Right now, most of those pitchers are with Short-Season Auburn in the New-York Penn League.
With over two months left in the minor league season, Romero would have to jump up real quickly if he’s going to make his major league debut this year. This year should be about getting to see Romero pitch on a mound and continue his development as a pitcher to make up for the time missed at Houston (which his own fault).
In time, Romero might be a great pick for the Nats. However, just don’t set your expectations too high on him helping the major league club this year in their pursuit of a championship.