After a season that ended two victories shy of reaching the World Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers re-signed their top free agents, and addressed other areas of concern. Most notably was at second base, where trading for Logan Forsythe filled the need.
As for their bullpen, the Dodgers’ search for a right-hander has reportedly led to coming to terms with former San Francisco Giants closer Sergio Romo. The Brawley, Calif., native elected to sign with the Dodgers over the Tampa Bay Rays and a late push from the New York Yankees.
Once made official, Romo’s signing will mark a homecoming as he grew up in a family of staunch Dodgers fans, and regularly attended games at Dodger Stadium as a child.
His arrival will also provide the club with another veteran presence and someone who’s played an integral part for three World-Series winning teams. During an interview with David Vassegh of AM 570 LA Sports Radio, Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt noted Romo’s experience and career success:
“Having the postseason experience being in a setup and closer role, he’s the type of guy who figures out how to get people out. He’s been able to do it in key situations, and he has that knack, mindset and confidence that he can make the pitches when he has to. He’s proven that over and over. You look at what he’s been able to do over his time with the Giants, winning three World Series and being a major part of each one of those, I think it’s really advantageous for us. It gives us another veteran in the bullpen, and hopefully we can be in those pressure situations and expect positive results. … When you have a pitch that everybody knows you’re going to throw, and still have the success he’s had, it’s pretty dang good. He’s got a really good [slider] and he knows how to use it. He’s extremely good at what he does. Hopefully things work out and we get to have Sergio on our ballclub.”
Last season, Romo recorded four saves and pitched to a 2.64 ERA, 157 ERA+, 3.80 FIP and 1.08 WHIP, albeit in a career-low 30.2 innings.
While Romo is coming off a season in which he missed much of the first half due to a flexor strain near his throwing elbow, the one-year, $3 million contract is a calculated risk by the Dodgers. Even when taking into account the deal includes incentives.
Mike Brito scouted Romo during the offseason and delivered a positive report to the Dodgers, which noted Romo’s slider having its usual break.
The 33-year-old explained his decision to sign with the Dodgers came with no resentment towards the Giants, as he didn’t have much choice but to accept the club’s decision to move on.
In nine seasons with the Giants, Romo recorded 84 saves with a 2.58 ERA, 147 ERA+, 2.71 FIP and 0.96 WHIP. He will turn 34 years old on March 4.