At this point J.C. Romero is running out of teams for which he hasn’t already played, but the Orioles are one of the few holdouts and today they signed the 35-year-old reliever to a minor-league contract.
Romero was released by the Cardinals two weeks ago and spent time in four different organizations last season, bouncing from the Phillies to the Nationals to the Yankees to the Rockies. And before that he was with the Twins, Angels, and Red Sox.
Once upon a time Romero was a quality setup man and then he was a useful left-handed specialist, but between his control problems and inability to retire right-handed hitters there isn’t much room for him on a big-league roster at this point.
Free agent outfielder Michael Saunders has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Royals, the team announced Friday. While the move comes just two days after Saunders agreed to terms with the Pirates, he allegedly asked for his release after the club acquired outfielder Corey Dickerson in a multi-player swap with the Rays on Thursday. MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan adds that Saunders will make $1.5 million upon reaching the majors, with a potential $500,000 in bonuses.
After earning his first spot on an All-Star team in 2016, Saunders followed up a solid campaign with a career-worst performance in 2017. The 31-year-old split the season between the Phillies and Blue Jays’ camps, batting a combined .202/.256/.344 with six home runs and -0.7 fWAR in 234 plate appearances. Although he remained healthy throughout the year, with no sign of the lingering hamstring strain that has plagued him on and off since 2013, he wasn’t productive enough to merit a full-time role on either roster.
With Dickerson slated for a starting role in Pittsburgh, it was unlikely that Saunders would have commanded anything other than a backup role in 2018. Now, however, he’ll compete for playing time amid a slew of outfield options, including Alex Gordon, Cody Asche, Jorge Bonifacio, Tyler Collins and Paulo Orlando.