The Blue Jays announced yesterday that left-hander Ricky Romero was outrighted to Triple-A Buffalo. This is the second time this year that he has passed through waivers unclaimed.
Of course, that shouldn’t be a big surprise at this point, but it’s just the latest indication of how far Romero has fallen since he posted a 2.92 ERA during his age-26 season in 2011. The southpaw struggled miserably with his control in 2012 while putting up a 5.77 ERA in 32 starts and attempts to fix his mechanics this year were largely unsuccessful, as he had a 5.78 ERA and 81/63 K/BB ratio over 113 2/3 innings in Triple-A and allowed nine runs on 11 hits and eight walks over 7 1/3 innings with the big club.
Romero, who turns 29 next month, is still owed $7.5 million in each of the next two seasons while his $13.1 million option for 2016 carries a $600,000 buyout. He’s not occupying a spot on the 40-man roster, so the Blue Jays will have to hope he figures something out while toiling in the minor leagues.
We welcomed “Mason Saunders” into our lives on Sunday, thanks to The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan. Mason Saunders is the alias of Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner when he competes in rodeos, something he’s done as recently as December (when he was still a free agent).
Given that one of Bumgarner’s other extracurricular activities, riding dirt bikes, resulted in a serious injury, many have been wondering how the Diamondbacks would react to the news that the lefty they inked to a five-year contract two months ago is roping steers in his spare time. It seems like the Diamondbacks just accept that that’s who Bumgarner is.
On Tuesday, Baggarly and Buchanan answered some frequently asked questions about the whole Bumgarner-rodeo thing. They mentioned that former Giants manager Bruce Bochy, in a radio interview on KNBR, slipped in that Bumgarner also hunts bears in his off-time. Bochy said, “You think, ‘Madison, you’re looking at signing your biggest contract ever to set yourself up for life and you’re going to risk it on the rodeo?’ But he’s got confidence. I mean there’s some stories I do know that he probably wouldn’t want me to share, with him bear hunting, and the tight situations he’s gotten himself into.”
As Baggarly and Buchanan explained, when Bumgarner — I mean, Saunders — is roping steers, he’s not taking much of a risk. They wrote, “The header and heeler don’t chase the steer around the ring. Each trial is more or less a one-shot deal and it’s over in less than 10 seconds. If the header or heeler misses on the first attempt, then no time is recorded.” Bumgarner has also said he ropes with his non-pitching hand. Hunting bears is an entirely different level of risk, one would imagine. That being said, no one seemed to be surprised that Bumgarner moonlights as a serious rodeo competitor. That’s likely also the case that he, as Bochy puts it, goes “mano a mano” against bears.