Veteran left-hander J.C. Romero signed a minor league contract with the Nationals at the end of June. Since then, he’s registered cool a 1.29 ERA in five relief appearances at Triple-A Syracuse, allowing only one earned run in seven innings.
He wants that impressive two-week stretch rewarded by the Nats’ front office. And soon.
According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, Romero’s “intention” is to opt of his contract with the Nationals on July 15 if he is not promoted to the major leagues. The 35-year-old would then sign a minor league deal with the Yankees and report to Triple-A Scranton/Wilke-Barre with the hope of donning pinstripes for the stretch run and possibly the playoffs.
The Nats would do well to promote Romero now, see if he shines in a short stay in the bigs, and then shop him around to reliever-needy teams at the deadline. Just about every contending club could use a lefty reliever.
Romero had a 3.86 ERA and was holding left-handed hitters to a .530 OPS in 24 outings before his release.
Pablo Sandoval could be tabbed to play second base in the near future, per a report from John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. According to Shea, Sandoval has been spotted taking grounders at second during pre-game warm-ups and may be considering switching to the keystone on a part-time basis.
It wouldn’t be the weirdest thing the 31-year-old corner infielder has done this year — that distinction goes to the flawless inning of relief he pitched in a blowout loss against the Dodgers last month. But it would represent a pretty notable departure from his comfort zone even so; Sandoval has primarily manned first and third base throughout his 11-year career in the majors and has also taken a few reps at DH during his resurgence with the Giants in 2018.
Of course, this wouldn’t necessarily be a permanent switch for Sandoval. As Shea points out, the Giants are thin on middle infielders after losing Joe Panik to a torn UCL in his left thumb and backup Alen Hanson to a left hamstring strain. Provided he can get up to speed quickly (no easy feat, according to infield coach Ron Wotus), he’d give the club some added depth behind Kelby Tomlinson and Miguel Gomez until Panik is ready to take the field again. Sandoval has impressed at the plate this spring, batting a healthy .270/.329/.429 with six extra-base hits and a .757 through 70 plate appearances.