The Cleveland Indians signed veteran left-handed relief pitcher J.C. Romero to a Minor League deal. Romero will pitch for Triple-A Columbus for now as the signing is strictly to provide the organization with some insurance in case Cleveland’s current left-handers in the bullpen cannot get the job done.
The 37-year-old suited up for Triple-A Columbus last season briefly. He posted a 3.12 earned run average with seven strikeouts in 8 2/3 innings. It was the only time in his 14-year Major League Baseball career that he has been a part of the Indians organization, until now.
Romero has seen his fair share of different teams throughout his career. In fact, if he makes it to the majors with Cleveland this season, it will mean that he took the mound for eight different teams since 1999.
The chances of Romero getting called up to the big leagues appear to be fairly good. The left-handed relievers for the Indians have struggled mightily this season, which is a big reason why Cleveland’s bullpen statistically ranks toward the bottom of the American League in performance. In fact, left-handers Rich Hill, Nick Hagadone, Scott Barnes and David Huff have managed to post a combined 7.98 ERA with 27 walks in 44 innings this year. Obviously, if the Indians want any chance of closing in on their three and a half game gap for first place in the American League Central division these four pitchers must step their game up.
Romero is 34-28 with a 4.16 ERA, 526 strikeouts and seven saves in 680 career games (22 starts).