Last winter, General Manager John Mozeliak expressed interest in Philadelphia Phillie’s reliever J.C. Romero, but the lefty declined to take the route of free agency, signing a one-year deal with the Phillies for the 2011 season.
Over last couple of weeks, the Cardinals’ bullpen has struggled mightily, showing many signs of wear and tear, and could easily use the services of another veteran arm to keep the rest of the gang on top of their game.
So what does a reliever like Romero bring to the table?
1) He made his Major League debut 12 years ago with the Minnesota Twins and has fluttered around the big leagues since then, making stops in Los Angeles, with the Angels, as well as stints in Boston and Philadelphia. He’s a left-handed specialist. With that said, the Cardinals do have two left-handed specialists already on the active roster, including Trever Miller and Brian Tallet. Both Miller and Tallet have provided aid to the Cardinals’ bullpen respectively. Miller, who has only pitched 13 1/3 innings this season, has appeared in 30 games, allowing just four earned runs off 12 hits. His control has been a minor issue as he’s allowed eight walks to seven strikeouts. Tallet, who recently was activated off the disabled list after suffering a fractured right hand in early May, has shown signs of rust since returning from injury. In just 14 games, Tallet has allowed nine earned runs off 16 hits in 11 1/3 innings this season. A benefit of Tallet’s services includes being able to pitch in different situations, including when games are out of reach, a time when manager Tony La Russa needs one of his relievers to work more than an inning.
2) By acquiring Romero, the Cardinals would add more depth to their flustered gang of relievers. In 2008, Romero appeared in 81 games for the Phillies, but his numbers have diminished since then. In ’10, Romero made an appearance in just 60 games and so far in ’11, the lefty has seen action in just 24 contests before being optioned to the minors.
3) As always, adding another arm to the Cardinals organization means another project for pitching coach Dave Duncan. There’s no doubt that Dunc can remold Romero to his ’08 form. Like I previously stated, Romero brings experience above all other things to the table. As a member of the ’08 World Champion Phillies, Romero was unhittable as the seventh inning shutdown man.
-How Romero’s situation could pan out: According to Jim McCormick of the Philadelphia Sports Daily, “Where and when [Romero] might get the chance to work remains unclear, as the Phillies have three options with the 35-year old lefty; he must got through waivers for 10 days, and if he’s not picked up, then he’ll have an opportunity to stick with the club in the lower levels in the minors. The second option is that there is a MLB club interested and a trade could be worked out, a highly unlikely scenario, and third, he could be outright released by the Phillies.”
The Cardinals will have a week and a half to determine whether Romero’s services would fit their needs in the bullpen. It’s obvious the Cardinals are in need of dire help, but at what potential cost?