With Casey Sadler down for the season, the Mariners found themselves in need of a bullpen arm, and it appears they have found a particularly well-seasoned one, as Jesse Sanchez reported early today that the Mariners are in agreement with RHP Sergio Romo.
The Mariners will become the 39-year-old’s seventh MLB team in a career that spans 14 seasons. Romo is most recognizable from his nine-year career as a San Francisco Giant, but you might remember Romo most recently as an Oakland Athletic. You might also remember Abraham Toro doing this to him during the Mariners’ magical late-season run.
That’s what can happen when Romo’s slider doesn’t, well, slide, but when the slider is on, hoo boy is it on:
Romo’s famous “no dot” slider (it doesn’t spin like a traditional slider, meaning there’s no “red dot” from the seams of the baseball for hitters to pick up) has been his bread and butter over his years in the majors, and continues to befuddle batters to this day. While his strikeout rate has dropped from his championship years with the Giants almost a decade ago, the slider remains a weapon, helping Romo to lead the majors in hard-hit rate (100th percentile; 98th percentile for average exit velocity).
Here’s a fun thing about Sergio Romo: when searching for pictures of him at a World Series championship parade, our search image tool was literally like “lol which one?”
Romo’s overall numbers from last year aren’t particularly impressive, but it’s worth noting he ran a pretty big first half/second half split; his ERA jumped by a full run (two, by FIP) and batters went from slugging a modest .336 to .474 against him. As someone of the age where I am indisposed for an entire day if my neck is exactly one degree too high or low when I sleep, I sympathize with this “is it over yet?” energy. The MLB season is capital-L Long. Hopefully, the Mariners, who ranked 13th in baseball last year with relievers throwing 618.2 of the team’s innings (about 42%), won’t need to grind the bullpen into dust again this year, and equally hopefully, Nelson Cruz’s nap room at T-Mobile Park ready for a new occupant.