The Toronto Blue Jays have signed reliever Sergio Romo to a big-league contract, according to Jon Heyman of the New York Post. Romo was released by the Seattle Mariners last week after posting an 8.16 ERA (46 ERA+) in 14 innings pitched.
Romo, 39 years old, will step into a Blue Jays bullpen that has been compromised by injuries. Entering Monday, the Blue Jays had five relievers on the shelf, in Yimi Garcia, Julian Merryweather, Trevor Richards, Tayler Saucedo, and Andrew Vasquez. Those five had combined for 90 appearances this season, or 18 on average.
Predictably, the Blue Jays have had trouble when turning games over to their reliefs corps. Toronto’s 4.32 bullpen ERA ranks in the bottom third of the majors. The Blue Jays also rank near the bottom of the league in “meltdowns,” a FanGraphs metric that judges relievers based on their Win Probability Added (or, in some cases, subtracted).
Romo would not seem like an upgrade based on his above numbers and the fact that he was deemed fungible by the Mariners. Still, the Blue Jays likely view him as a rebound candidate for a few reasons. Foremost, he had a 2.75 strikeout-to-walk ratio in those 14 innings. He also had an average exit velocity of 85.8 mph, which is several ticks better than the norm and indicates he remains capable of suppressing contact.
Besides, the Blue Jays will be responsible for paying Romo only the prorated league minimum for the duration of his stay.
The Blue Jays have a 40-32 record on the season, tying them with the Tampa Bay Rays for third place in the American League East. This will be an important week for the Blue Jays, as they’ll host the Boston Red Sox for three games beginning on Monday night. They’ll then welcome the Rays to town for a five-game set.