Former long-time SF Giants reliever Sergio Romo will hit the open market after the Minnesota Twins bought out his $5 million club option for 2021.
A number of players that fit the SF Giants offseason needs have already become free agents after teams declined their team options, including former Giants starter Mike Leake. Could a reunion with longtime Giants reliever Sergio Romo be in play after the Twins declined a $5 million club option for 2021?
As teams look to cut costs to offset the revenues lost from the COVID-19 pandemic, productive players like the veteran reliever have unexpectedly become free agents.
In 2020, the 37-year-old registered a 4.05 ERA (4.34 FIP) with a 26.4 percent strikeout rate against an eight percent walk rate. Romo has no problem getting opposing hitters out by way of the strikeout even as he ages thanks in large part to his slider.
His sweeping breaking ball remains his out-pitch, and a pitch he has relied on more and more as the years have gone by. Last year, he threw the slider 64.8 percent of the time and opposing hitters posted a paltry .182 batting average against it, according to Baseball Savant.
Of course, this is nothing new to fans, but Giants director of pitching analysis Matt Daniels clearly remembers his days in Oracle Park fondly as well.
Romo spent the first nine seasons of his career in San Francisco. In that time, he posted a 2.58 ERA (2.71 FIP) with 84 saves, a 28.6 percent strikeout rate, three World Series rings, one All-Star nod, and a partridge in a pear tree.
Since parting ways with the Giants via free agency, the Brawley, California native has pitched with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Tampa Bay Rays, Miami Marlins, and the Twins.
Of course, Romo was a pivotal part of the Giants bullpen during their dynastic run from 2010-2014. In the 2012 World Series, Romo recorded the final out. One of the few remaining players from their 2010 championship team, could the SF Giants be interested in a reunion?
First off, the free-agent market for relievers is going to be a difficult area to predict. There are few, if any, top-of-the-market arms, and many of the arms will blend in a saturated market. That market will only expand once teams once the non-tendered players become free agents.
With that being said, there is not much differentiation between a lot of free-agent arms. The SF Giants are said to be prioritizing a veteran reliever this winter, but there are so many veteran relievers available. Romo fits the description of what the Giants need, especially given that he throws from the right side while the current bullpen leans heavily on southpaws at the moment.
It would be an awesome moment to see Romo return to the Giants at some point and president of baseball operations has shown a willingness to bring back familiar faces like Pablo Sandoval and Hunter Pence. With that said, my guess is he wants to continue pitching for competitive teams. In the same division as the Padres and Dodgers, he will probably look elsewhere.
However it works out, Sergio Romo is free to sign with any team. Given his veteran experience and consistent ability to get righthanded hitters out, expect the SF Giants to at least show some interest in one of the best bullpen arms of the 21st century.