The Phillies designated left-hander J.C. Romero for assignment on Thursday afternoon to clear a spot on their roster for Friday night’s starter, Vance Worley.
Romero has battled control issues and a variety of injuries over the past several seasons in Philadelphia, but he has a great ability to retire left-handed batters and that’s something that has piqued the interest of at least one NL team.
According to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are planning to “investigate Romero’s availability.”
Tony La Russa loves lefty specialists like Rick Reilly loves rolling metaphors, so it certainly seems feasible that the Cardinals might take a real run at acquiring Romero, either through a straight wavier claim or a trade with the Philies. Trever Miller has not been a consistent option for La Russa and Co. this season, and Brian Tallet is a mess. The Cardinals could use a left-handed weapon in their quest for the division crown.
Romero has kept left-handed hitters to a .208 batting average this season and a .185 mark since 2008. He’s on a $1.35 million salary and has issued 92 walks in his last 128 2/3 innings, but no relievers available at the moment are free of past mishaps and the Cardinals badly need bodies for the middle innings.
Former Tigers infielder Casey McGehee has reportedly signed a one-year deal with the Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
It’s the fourth move the corner infielder has made in the last two seasons after seeing short-term stints with the Marlins, Giants and Tigers. He signed a minor league deal with the Tigers prior to the 2016 season, providing the club with some infield depth behind 24-year-old Nick Castellanos. When Castellanos hit the disabled list in August with a broken hand, McGehee was recalled from Triple-A Toledo for a 30-game stint and slashed .228/.260/.239 with one extra-base hit in 96 PA. His career batting line (.258/.317/.384 over eight seasons) isn’t too shabby, but his age and a long history of knee injuries puts a damper on his potential.
McGehee last appeared in the NPB circuit in 2013, when he signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. He spent the bulk of his season at the hot corner, batting an impressive .292/.396/.515 with 28 homers in 590 PA and appearing in the Eagles’ first and only championship run to date.
The deal comes with a club option for 2018, Rosenthal reports, though no figure has been specified.
Free agent left-hander Rich Hill is rumored to be entertaining a three-year, $40+ million offer from the Dodgers, reports Peter Gammons. The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo corroborated the report, adding that Hill could receive somewhere between $46 and $48 million from his former team.
Hill, 36, pitched to a 2.12 ERA and 3.91 FIP in back-to-back stints with the Athletics and Dodgers in 2016. While a chronic case of blisters on his pitching hand limited the frequency of his starts, he still figures to be one of the most productive and noteworthy starting pitchers on the market this winter.
The Orioles, Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers and Astros have all been mentioned as potential suitors for the left-hander’s services, though Orioles’ GM Dan Duquette said the club has yet to make a play for Hill and ESPN’s Jim Bowden pointed out that the Red Sox are less involved in trade talks than other interested parties.