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Rays sign Sergio Romo

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MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez reports that the Rays have re-signed Sergio Romo to a one-year contract. A major league contract, not a minor league one, which is pretty dang rare lately.

The financial details aren’t yet known as Romo has not yet taken his physical. It’s not likely to be a big contract, though, given that Romo had a markedly up-and-down season last year.

The down: he posted a 6.12 ERA over 30 appearances for the Dodgers before they traded him to Tampa Bay for a player to be named later who, as far as I can tell, never was named. The up: he pitched much better with the Rays, putting up a 1.47 ERA in 25 outings. He struck out fewer batters per nine with the Rays, actually, but walked far fewer and allowed far fewer hits.

The Rays are counting on the latter version of Romo. If deployed judiciously, they can probably get something at least close to it.

Bryce Harper defeats Kyle Schwarber 19-18 to win the 2018 Home Run Derby

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Bryce Harper, who said he was tired after taking his cuts in the first round, certainly appeared gassed in the final round. So, too, did his dad, who was throwing to him. But Harper caught fire, going on a tear and tying Kyle Schwarber with 18 home runs before time expired in the final round of the 2018 Home Run Derby. Harper unlocked 30 seconds of bonus time by hitting two home runs at least 440 feet. With his second swing in bonus time, Harper homered to straightaway center field for No. 19. He tossed his bat in celebration, grabbed his trophy, then gave it to his dad before he was mobbed on the field by his All-Star teammates.

Harper hit 13 home runs in the first round, eliminating Freddie Freeman and advancing to the semifinals. In the semis, Harper topped Max Muncy 13-12 to advance to the finals. On Schwarber’s side of the bracket, he bested Alex Bregman 16-15, then defeated Rhys Hoskins 21-20.

Harper is the first member of the Nationals (or Expos) to win the Home Run Derby. Harper participated in the 2013 Derby but finished in second place behind Yoenis Céspedes. Harper is also the first left-handed hitter to win the Derby since Prince Fielder in 2012. The only players to win the Derby in their home park are Todd Frazier in 2015 and Ryne Sandberg in 1990.

As a spectator, the 2018 Home Run Derby was tons of fun. The four-minute clock adds a lot of tension and intrigue even to the initial rounds. Seeing teammates cheer and get excited for their teammates in the Derby is really fun. Of course, watching dinger after dinger is cool, too. Can’t wait for next year.