Big Money This Off-Season, or It’s Time for Sergio Romo to Get Paid

Two of the early signings this off-season suggest that MLB teams will be spending fast and furious on talent.

The White Sox re-signed Jake Peavy for two years at $29 million, and the Dodgers resigned reliever Brandon League for three years at $22.5 million.  Both contracts contain vesting options for an additional year.

Peavy was pretty good in 2012, but it was his first healthy season out of the last four, and he’ll be 32 in 2013.  League is a closer-caliber reliever, but he’s not one of the best, and the Dodgers would likely be better served with Kenley Jansen as their closer in 2013.  $22.5 million is a lot to pay for a set-up man.

One player who should benefit tremendously from the League signing is Giants’ closer Sergio Romo.  After roughly five major league seasons, Romo now has a career major league ERA of 2.2o.  While he saved only 14 games during the regular season, he did so only because he didn’t become the closer until Santiago Casilla proved he was only the second best reliever in the Giants’ 2012 bullpen.

Romo, of course, ended up saving three games in the World Series and four in the post-season as a whole, allowing only one run in 10.2 IP and ten appearances.

Romo signed last off-season for what I thought was a paltry $1.57 million, given how exceptionally well he pitched in both 2010 and 2011.  During either the NLCS or the World Series, Fox announcer Tim McCarver told a story about how when Romo agreed to the $1.57 million 2012 contract (it was a compromise on arbitration offers), he broke down in tears, because he comes from a poor family and never thought he’d make that kind of money in his life time.

Assuming the story is true (you have to take the things McCarver says with a grain of salt — he also said that Romo grew up in Salinas, when Romo was born and attended high school in Brawley, half way across the state), it says something about how humble Romo is and the fact that an underpaid major league pitcher still makes more money than most people can reasonably dream of.

Anyway, Romo can’t have more than two years left before he becomes a free agent, and I would expect the Giants would probably be willing to give him a two or three year contract, given the circumstances.

The one thing that concerns me, and likely the Giants, is how Romo will handle the heavier work load as the team’s closer going forward.

Romo is a small right-hander, about the same size as Tim Lincecum, and Romo relies disproportionately on his terrific slider.  The slide ball is by all accounts tough on a pitcher’s elbow, and the Giants in using Romo as a set up man the last few years have been very careful to limit his innings pitched (he’s averaged 55 IP in 67 appearances over the last three regular seasons), in order to avoid killing the goose that heaves the golden slider.

If Romo becomes the Giants’ 2013 closer, he’ll have to work more, probably about 70 IP, based on what Brian Wilson did as the Giants’ closer from 2008 through 2011.

Whatever the final outcome, one thing is for certain.  It’s time for Romo to be rewarded for his incredible second half of 2012 and the San Francisco Giants’ second World Series win, with respect to which he performed an out-sized role.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants

3 Comments on “Big Money This Off-Season, or It’s Time for Sergio Romo to Get Paid”

  1. Ray Says:

    Definitely time for him to get compensated better then the contracts of lesser (relievers, setup, closers)!!! No one has been better then him for the last few years. Absolutely true of his humility and understanding how blessed he is. A true class act!!!!!

  2. Burly Says:

    1/18/13: Romo and the Giants exchanged arbitration figures today: Romo is asking for $4.5 million and the Giants are asking for $2.675 million. Even Romo’s arbitration figure seems too low for me. I don’t see how he’s worth less than $5 million on a one-year deal, given what top free agent set-up men were signing for (see League’s contract above) and the 2012 season Romo had, not to mention his fine 2010 and 2011 seasons.

    It seems to me the Giants and Romo will still agree on a two or three year deal, perhaps for as little as $7.5 million on a two-year deal or $12 million on a three year deal. While either contract would be a bargain for the Giants, Romo might sign such a contract given how little he’s asking for in arbitration.

  3. Burly Says:

    2/6/13: Romo got paid: he and the Giants agreed to a two-year deal that reportedly pays Romo $3.5 million in 2013 and $5.5 million in 2014. That’s about a million dollars more than I expected Romo to get on a two-year deal.


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