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.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.
Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.
Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, pending a physical. Assuming the deal is finalized, Sherman notes that the Yankees will have Niese work as both a starter and a reliever in big league camp this spring.
According to Sherman, the Yankees were interested in lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan, but didn’t want to commit at their asking prices. They are looking for a lefty set-up man along with Tommy Lane.
Niese, 30, pitched for the Pirates and Mets last season, finishing with a 5.50 ERA and an 88/47 K/BB ratio over 121 innings.