Somewhat shocking news out of Philadelphia today, as the Phillies designated left-handed reliever J.C. Romero for assignment . Ostensibly, this is to make room for right-handed pitcher Vance Worley, who is expected to start on Saturday in Seattle.
The move means Romero is on waivers. If no team picks him up then the Phillies need to either release, trade or send Romero to the minors.
The move comes as somewhat of a shock, if for no other reason that this team doesn’t often cut ties with their veteran players -- especially when someone like David Herndon is still on the roster. However, it makes sense, given that Romero basically turned into a pitcher who was only effective against left-handed hitters and was fairly low on the bullpen depth chart.
Romero arrived in Philadelphia at the tail end of 2007, when the Phils picked him up after being released by the Boston Red Sox. He was an absolute monster in the ‘pen, and was a crucial component for both the 2007 National League East champs, as well as the 2008 World Series champs. He was effective after that, but ran into some injuries, as well as a 50-game suspension in 2009 that stemmed from a violation of MLB’s performance enhancing drug policy.
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This news does not signal the end of the J.C. era in Philadelphia. Assuming that no other team puts a claim in on him, he could be sent to the minor leagues, unless he chooses to become a free agent. At which point, we can all look forward to him making Phillies’ hitters look silly when he eventually faces them.