J.C. Romero has been in the Phillies’ bullpen for the past four-and-a-half seasons, but today they designated him for assignment to make room on the roster for tomorrow’s starter, Vance Worley.
Romero remains very effective against left-handed hitters, but his inability to be even decent against right-handed hitters and overall struggles to throw the ball over the plate have severely limited his usefulness.
During the past three-plus seasons he’s held lefties to a .185 batting average, including .208 this season, but righties have gotten on base at a .431 clip against Romero that basically limits him to left-handed specialist duties. Toss in his 92 walks in 128 innings during that time and letting him go, while surprising, isn’t much of a loss for the Phillies’ bullpen.
Plus, there’s a decent chance Romero will pass through waivers unclaimed anyway, as taking on the remainder of his $1.35 million contract may scare teams off if the southpaw’s performance hadn’t already.
Confirming a report from Tuesday, the Diamondbacks officially signed right-hander Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million contract on Friday. The 39-year-old stands to receive up to $4 million in incentives, per Jack MacGruder of FanRag Sports, with $250,000 kicking in when the veteran reaches 40, 50 and 60 appearances and $500,000 if he reaches 70.
Rodney came three games shy of the 70-appearance mark in 2016 during back-to-back stints with the Padres and Marlins. He put up a cumulative 3.44 ERA on the year, which effectively disguised the extreme split during his performances in San Diego and Miami. The Diamondbacks aren’t anywhere close to contending in 2017, but Rodney should stabilize the back end of their bullpen while providing Arizona GM Mike Hazen with a potential trade chip during next year’s deadline.
Hazen issued a statement following the signing:
With Fernando, we’re getting an established Major League closer and a veteran presence in the bullpen. It is helpful to have someone with his experience on the back end to slow the game down and get the final three outs.
The Cardinals have officially signed outfielder Dexter Fowler to a five-year, $82.5 million contract. Fowler will also get a full no-trade clause.
The Cardinals gave Fowler a bigger deal than many speculated he’d get, as some reports predicted he’d get something in the $52-72 million range. His skills, however — he’s a fantastic leadoff hitter who plays a premium defensive position — definitely earned him some major dough. Fowler hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 homers, 48 RBI and 13 steals over 125 games in 2016 for the World Series champion Cubs.
For the Cardinals, this will allow Matt Carpenter to move down to the middle of the batting order and will shift Randal Grichuk to left field. It also takes a prime piece from the Cardinals’ biggest rival. For their part, earlier this offseason the Cubs signed former Cardinal center fielder Jon Jay. So that’s fun.