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Nationals sign Phillies castoff J.C. Romero to minors deal

Jun 29, 2011, 3:15 PM EDT

Florida Marlins v Philadelphia Phillies Getty Images

J.C. Romero, who passed through waivers unclaimed and was released by the Phillies last week, has signed a minor-league contract with the Nationals and will report to Triple-A, according to Mark Zuckerman of

Philadelphia is on the hook for Romero’s entire $1.35 million salary, so the signing is basically a no-risk move for Washington and at the very least Romero still looks capable of being a solid left-handed specialist.

To be anything more than that he’d have to dramatically improve his control or cease being horrendous against right-handed hitters, neither of which seem likely at age 35.

  1. MightyMoonWorm - Jun 29, 2011 at 3:22 PM

    Picking up the scraps.

  2. natstowngreg - Jun 29, 2011 at 3:29 PM

    OK, the organization could use a little depth in lefty one-out guys (LOOGYs).

    • Chris Fiorentino - Jun 29, 2011 at 3:36 PM

      Except he isn’t a LOOGY. He’s more like a lefty NOOGY(no-out guy) Enjoy your NOOGYs Gnats fans.

      • halladaysbicepts - Jun 29, 2011 at 3:42 PM


        Chris, you are the man!

      • oikosjeremy - Jun 29, 2011 at 4:11 PM


        Romero against lefties, 2011:

        .208 BA/.321 OBP/.208 SLG/.530 OPS. 0 HR. 4 BB in 29 PA, 2.00 K/BB ratio. BABIP >.300, so it’s not like the low BA represents extraordinary luck.

        Romero against lefties, 2010:
        .217 BA/.323 OBP/.277 SLG/.600 OPS. 1 HR. 11 BB in 97 PA, 1.82 K/BB ratio. .274 BABIP, so maybe a touch lucky but nothing freakish.

        Those numbers are all pretty close to his career norms (career .212/.312/.290/.601, 2.12 K/BB ratio, 112 BB and 13 HR in 1085 PA vs. LHB), so it’s not even as if he’s gone downhill lately.

        Conceding an OBP around .320 to lefties does not make him an awesome LOOGY, but it does not make him a NOOGY, especially given the other numbers.

        natstowngreg is right–Romero is a potentially-useful LOOGY. You are wrong. And I say that as a Phillies fan who got as frustrated as anyone when Romero walked a LHB. Like you, I tend to remember those frustrating moments. But unlike you, I am willing to look at statistics which remind me that those moments, frustrating as they were, were not actually all that common, or Romero would’ve conceded an OBP to lefties much higher than .320ish.

        I actually like the NOOGY coinage, but it would be funnier if it were applied to someone who deserved it.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jun 29, 2011 at 4:41 PM

        Yeah, you neglect to write that over the past year that most of those outs against lefties were scrubs in meaningless moments. The second he is put into a situation where it is imperative that he gets an out he implodes. Hence, the lack of organizational faith in him. As a result, he was forced into something of a mop up role that entailed him facing right handers for which he is not capable. I’ve said it many times, taking up a spot on the 25 man roster for a one batter pitcher is stupid. It is LaRussa baseball at its worst.

  3. halladaysbicepts - Jun 29, 2011 at 3:33 PM

    I hear that they made Romero walk from the airport, since he was used to walking batters.

    JC, we will see you soon, PED man. I can’t wait until you come in late innings and walk the Phillies’ left handed hitters.

  4. oikosjeremy - Jun 29, 2011 at 5:33 PM


    I look forward to your provision of data, with a sufficiently large sample size to be worth talking about, that Romero pitches significantly worse in high-leverage situations. Because again, I’m sure that you, like me, tend to recall the times in which he has failed in these situations, and forgotten the times in which he succeeded.

    • drmonkeyarmy - Jun 29, 2011 at 5:39 PM

      Actually somebody posted it on here when he was released….the data for this season at least. The sample size was obviously small but in high leverage situations, he only retired 4 of 7 lefties. In fairness two of those lefties were Votto and Bruce, but it is his job to get those guys out. I’m not saying he can’t get lefties out overall, but I am adverse to using a roster spot for a one batter pitcher. That is just a philosophical difference I suppose. On another note,I am actually quite the opposite of you…I tend to recall the good outings and not the bad. I just got fed up with Romero over the course of the past year. Just not reliable enough for me.

      • oikosjeremy - Jun 29, 2011 at 6:26 PM

        Fair enough regarding roster use. I certainly don’t claim to have done all the analysis and made all the judgment calls one would need to make to decide whether the Phillies are better off with someone else filling Romero’s roster spot, or whether the Nationals would be better off with Romero filling one of their roster spots. I just think it’s silly to claim that Romero can’t possibly have any value to anyone, under any circumstances, because all he does is walk guys.

        Regarding a sample size of 7 high leverage situations this season, it sounds like you know as well as I do that that’s meaningless. Saying “but it’s his job to get those guys out” isn’t a reasonable basis for making roster decisions, unless you’re seriously proposing (which I’m sure you’re not) to release everybody the first time they fail to “do their jobs” 4 times in a 7-attempt stretch.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jun 29, 2011 at 6:35 PM

        Fair enough. All I am saying is that in a tight spot when they need that out against a lefty, I have no faith in Romero getting the job done. The Nats have a good bullpen so I’m not sure they need him either….I just don’t see how he has value for a contending team, other then him being worth a punt because he is cheap. I don’t know that fat Mike Zagurski and Juan Perez are better options, but at this point I’d be willing to find out.

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