The trade of Tyler Thornburg has created a gaping hole in the closer spot for the Brewers, and has created rampant speculation on the part of Brewer fans everywhere as to what Slingin’ David Stearns might do to fill that role. There are internal candidates, but adding a reliever with closing experience is certainly a viable option, given the low team payroll and the possibility of flipping relievers for prospects in this, the Over-Valuing Relievers Era.
Romo has pitched in relief for the Giants since 2008. His career WHIP is 0.955, ranging from .706 in his rookie season to 1.206 in his second. He recorded 75 saves from 2012 to 2014, with 38 in 2013. He has worked as a late inning set up pitcher for the past two seasons.
Romo has always exhibited very good control, with a career walk percent of just 5.1%. Strikeouts stand at 28.7%. He maintained those numbers in 2016 (6.0% walks, 28.2% strikeouts). For easy reference, that’s 10.2 k/9 and 1.8 bb/9 for his career.
Sergio spent time on the DL with elbow soreness last year, which will probably dampen interest in a long-term deal for him. He still worked 42 innings between the Giants and rehab appearances, and has worked between 49 and 62 innings every year from 2010 to 2015. As a slider dominant pitcher, an elbow issue is cause for concern. However, the injury was early in the season an he worked his normal 25 innings over the second half.
Romo earned $9 mil last year, and doesn’t seem to have generated much interest from the Giants in signing for a return engagement. That can change quickly, though. Other teams have been rumored to have interest (the Yankees, for one, but what FA aren’t they linked to?). With the inflated amounts relievers are getting, Romo would seem to be in line for a two year deal with an option (he will be 33 next year) at close to that $9 mil per year rate. If he sits on the market for awhile and can be enticed to a team like the Brewers where he’d have a good shot at the closer’s role, perhaps he could be signed on for less.
Either way, it would fill that closer’s role for Milwuakee and give Romo the opportunity to re-establish himself as a legitimate high-leverage option. If he performs, the Brewers have another trade chip - or even a closer for the next two seasons. As a fan, I never wanted to see Romo in against the Brewers...he can be very tough to hit. He has been much more consistent than most relievers; if healthy, the Brewers know what they are getting. It’s not like we don’t have experience watching “stuff” closers over “power” closers here in Milwaukee.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference and Fangraphs