From the Depths of Romer-woe

Ricky Romero was terrible again last night, and I’m finding it about as hard right now to grope around for something new and interesting to say about it, as it is to try to make sense of how the latest turd fits into the pile of them our Opening Day starter has been laying out behind the shed all damn summer.

Seven hits. Eight walks. No strikeouts.

Putting the game into historical context, before calling it “a tortured cry for help,” Jeff Sullivan writes at FanGraphs that the last pitcher to post a worse ratio of walks-to-strikeouts “was Jose Guzman, at 9:0, in 1991. Before that, you’d have to go back to 1971, and before that, you’d have to go back to 1951. The most recent starter to post a ratio of 8:0 was Greg Reynolds in 2008, and the less said about Greg Reynolds, the better. Before that, the most recent 8:0 start happened in 1982.”


I’m pretty sure it’s reached the 2011 Rasmus point, where there’s little left for the club to do but to let Ricky play out the string and try to regroup over the winter, while they search for even more pitching as a contingency for the fact that one of the mere two pitchers they’ve assured a rotation spot for 2013 may turn out not to warrant a spot in the Majors.

In what’s been an ugly season for the Jays, Romero’s total implosion may rank as the ugliest, most far-reaching development. Which isn’t to suggest that he’s unfixable, or that it makes a lick of goddamn sense that a young pitcher at the height of his career might completely and utterly lose it in the blink of an eye, but… we’ll have to just wait and see.

And of course, with things so ugly on the field, and so much down time forced upon us, it can’t help but bleed into frustration and sniping among the fans, media, and bloggers who follow the team– as we saw rather clearly in a post from Mop Up Duty last night, who made waves [read: got linked to by the invaluable Baseball Think Factory] with their unfortunate reaction to some strong comments from Dirk Hayhurst at the conclusion of Sportsnet’s broadcast.

“He’s absolutely warranted a demotion,” said Hayhurst after being asked by Jamie Campbell if a trip to Las Vegas may have been in the cards, were the minor league season not so close to its conclusion. “Eight walks is just far too many walks to stay in the big leagues with. I’m a big Ricky fan, I played with him, I like the guy, but at some point you have to look at all this failure and realize this is beyond the confines of normal failure, this is now stretching into the area of embarrassment. He’s out there and he’s embarrassed himself. He knows it, the fans know it, the team knows it.”

Now, personally, I don’t have a problem with any of what Dirk says here, but that’s likely because, unlike Mop Up Duty’s Callum, I think there’s a distinction between calling a man an embarrassment and saying that he is himself embarrassed by what’s going on, and that it’s a little bit rich to go off on Hayhurst as though he said the former, when if you look closely, it was really more of the latter.

Then again, I may just be overreacting in my own right, on account of how much I absolutely loathe the absolute horseshit nonsense Callum later suggests about opinions, no matter how well reasoned or informed, not being valid unless a person has some level of credential– the kind of lazy garbage that was for so long used to dismiss out of hand entirely fair criticisms that came from the mother’s-basement-dwelling stooges writing in the exact same medium he is.

Or, I don’t know, maybe I’m just irked by the attempted application of an impossibly narrow reading of Hayhurst’s books, in which we’re told that ”Hayhurst describes baseball as a constant struggle, so much so that he succumbed to bouts of depression because of it.”

I mean, I think there was a liiiiiiiitle more depth to it than that. But… um… yeah. See what I mean? Total fucking snipe fest over here. And we’d all better get used to it. Five-and-a-half weeks to go!

Comments (90)

  1. Bartolo Colon did it his way!

  2. He is bad.

  3. Just wondering but would the royals entertain a hosmer for romero swap? Both players have struggled this year but have track records of success. Plus, the royals desperately need pitching. Its not like the jays have a surplus of pitching but they could use an upgrade at 1b/dh instead of cooper/lind.

  4. Why didn’t he just tag him?

  5. Five and a half weeks to go, then we get into what is likely to be the most contentious off-season yet.

    I cannot fucking wait. Bring on the trolls, its going to be a fun winter!

  6. Playoffs!

  7. A friend and I believe that Rima’s break-up with Rickey is the cause of his woes this season.

  8. Stoeten, weren’t you supposed to post the deep-in-thought Ricky picture in the game threat for his starts for good luck. I think you might be the one to blame for yesterday

  9. Speaking of the Rasmus point, Rasmus ‘eemself is pretty much there again. His season OBP is now below .300, and since the ASB his OPS is a meagre .509. Couple that with Ricky’s and Y. Escobar’s pathetic seasons, and I’m not expecting the Jays to be any kind of threat next year. A .500 record might even be optimistic.

    • Rasmus has clearly been troubled by this groin injury. I’m not sure he should even be playing right now.

      • Rasmus had a terrible July as well, long before his groin injury.

        The scary reality is that Rasmus is playing slightly better than he did last year. His numbers are buoyed by a huge turnaround in defence, which is hard to explain and the long ball, which could be partly explained by switching from a pitchers park to a hitters park.

    • Thanks for crawling out of your negative suckhole for that.

  10. I didn’t like what Dirk said, hes 32 and he’s retired do to arm shittiness, how in his right mind can he call someone an embarrassment.

    • Well for starters, he probably knows the difference between due and do. Secondly, he’s a ex-player, talking-head, the sports equivalent of a political pundit. His job is to get ratings and if going over the top sometimes gets those ratings, do you really think his bosses care?

      • aaaaaand! As Stoeten pointed out in the very piece on which we are commenting he didn’t “call Ricky an embarassment” he said Ricky embarassed himself. Which are two pretty fucking different things.

  11. Would any other starter on the Jays be allowed to continue pitching like this? I know the team isn’t playing for much lately, but hasn’t it reached the point where something is not right with Ricky and by sending him out there I don’t see who they are helping.

  12. I thought Dirk’s words were at best ill-chosen and at worst insulting to Romero. It really doesn’t matter much in the long run, unless Ricky takes offense. I don’t agree with the credentials bullshit either; I think baseball commentators a just as full of shit as the rest of us.

  13. Didn’t Callum have some run ins regarding plagiarism of his columns a while back.. that article about Halladay’s rehabilitation? Pretty rich his bit about credentials and validity of viewpoints in light of that.

  14. Romero is lost way up in his head. Who knows if he ever ‘finds himself.’ Happened to Ankiel and it happened to Knoblauch.

  15. Dirk also suggested Cooper might be best suited for Japan. I’m glad Dirk is not a homer, but he should have just given his evaluation of Cooper as major leaguer. i.e. he could be a starter OR a good platoon player OR bench player OR he is really just a 4A guy. Don’t make cracks about heading off to Japan.

    • Is that really a crack? Or just an acknowledgement that his skill set might play better there? I haven’t heard the original comment so I’m just guessing.

  16. I have no problem with Ricky finishing the season in his normal rotation spot. In fact if I was Farrell I’d tell him to go out there and try and throw nothing but strikes, and not worry about the results. I don’t think he’s going to be “fixed” by riding the pine, or going down to the minors for a bit. He just needs to pitch through it.

  17. Holy shit dudes, take a fucking breath. Yeah, eight walks is fucking brutal, yes, but if you consider there were two errors in that inning and one of those walks was borderline intentional, (yeah seven is still bad) he could still have left the game after six down 3-1 which considering how bad he was doing is actually not at all an embaressment but a guy with a big heart pulling out all the stops. Just pointing this out show how the narrative – through Ricky doing nothing different – could be vastly different. Also., he as 8-1 at one point and while every said “wins dont mean shit” they dont seem to say that when he goes 0-9 pitching in front of a minor league team that cant score. There was even a stretch where he threw 3 good games in a row with nothing to show for it. Fuck, everyone has bad years and shit snowballs. I’m no expert but id like to see Ricky throw more curves and less cutters/ shitty fastballs.

    • Romero is already throwing way more curves than ever before, because he can’t locate his fastball

  18. Ugh, last night was super painful. I want to say they should demote Ricky for his own sake, but really it doesn’t seem like there is anyone else to promote to take the spot that would be any better. Although at this point would even Cecil be a better option and at least take some heat off Ricky?

    In regards to Hayhurst, the words were hard, but not unwarranted… that argument from MopUpDuty is ridiculous. Seems like someone took things a bit too personally. Hayhurst defended his comments well on twitter today though I thought, maybe it would be good to post a bit of that as an addendum?

  19. In ancient Rome they would take a pitcher out behind the Colosseum and kick them in the nuts after a shitty outing. Just a thought.

  20. Also i’d like to point out that putting the guy in the minors might be counter productive because it would embarress him. Also getting rid of guys after one bad year is really the consistantly dumbest things major league sports teams do. You might be annoyed at how much rope the Jays have given Lind, but you alredy have the guy theres nothing to lose in being patient unless you are a World Series favorite. To me, sports management is all about maximizing value and trading/releasing a guy at the lowest point of his career and compounding that by using assets to replace him is the stupidest fucking thing possible. Keep Ricky and watch him rebound or implode, but theres nothing to lose in keeping him.

  21. Hey you guys, remember when we used to laugh at shitty teams like Baltimore and Pittsburgh? Yeah me too.

  22. Yunel out for 3 games for parental leave…….too many jokes to make…..

  23. Hopefully 2013 can be a fresh start for the entire team. On the bright side, a top 5 pick on the draft might yield a great player.

  24. Problem with sending Ricky down now . . . that burns an option, doesn’t it? (I’m a little fuzzy on option rules.) If it does, that could make it more difficult to send him down in future years if he continues to struggle, all for only a few starts in the minors this year.

    If this is the case (and I’m not totally talking out of my ass), it has to really helps his development to make it worth it.

  25. That Mop Up Duty article is EMBARASSING

  26. I just see Ricky as a continuation of Toronto’s recent pattern of young players who make a minor splash, get extended, then crash to earth. Wells, Hill, Lind, Rios, now Romero. Are the Jays not allowed to have someone who can be consistently good? I’m not even asking for greatness. Please, just don’t shit your pants. Team Depends of southern Ontario.

  27. what about dick hayjerks call of Cooper to Japan. Fucking stupid shit right there man.

    • Hayhurst and every other talking head get paid to say outlandish things and stir the pot. He ain’t there to shrug his shoulders.

    • Dirk’s a corncob. Doesn’t have much to do with the comments he made about Ricky, either. Fair game for calling out a player’s performance when he’s sucking.

      • Cooper is not sucking yet he still gets called out, If thats the extent of his ability to provide analysis then he fits right in with buck and tabby

  28. what the fuck are callum huhgson’s credentials?

    it strikes me as more than a little rediculous to piss down on the proletariat from the alter of ‘mop up duty’.

  29. Can / would they ask Ricky to work in Arizona in the fall? That wouldn’t really be insulting any more than sending him to the Vegas bandbox. I think he knows he has work to do and unless this is the result of some kind of fatigue, it might be worth it to put him in a no-pressure zone where he just works on some things, no?

  30. I think there are probably a lot of things that have led to Ricky’s struggles this year, however, he still has good stuff, no reported injuries and a track record of success. I still haven’t lost confidence in him and expect that he will have a much better season next year. That being said, I always thought it was unfair to label him as an ace. He’s a fine #2 or #3 starter.

    • Don’t be surprised when Ricky turns into D-Train. We have one fucking starting pitcher next year. PLAYOFFS 2014 BABAY!!!!!!

  31. Please – – - -let’s shut him down for the season. Let him rest, get his head back on straight and get ready for next year…

  32. Honestly, I don’t think Dirk meant to imply that RR was an “embarrassment”….merely that RR was becoming increasingly embarrassed with himself for the walks he issued. A pitcher’s emotions will range from irritation to downright anger with himself for walking batters…but RR’s emotional level was approaching the embarrassment stage with each batter walked.
    There’s a difference in the two.

  33. If he throws one shutout everything will be OK again. The sad thing is that the defense does not help him either. Fielding wise this team has a long way to go to be considered a contender.

    • The team as currently constituted., maybe…. with a “real” full line-up? Their D is just fine, IMO.

      • Yeah. The Jays defense is pretty good. Rasmus, Lawrie, Bautista (arm wise), Escobar. All pretty strong. Nobody really obviously terrible defensively… even EE isn’t bad at 1st.

      • Yeah If they’re healthy (which is not the case right now) they’re OK. Except 2B SS and LF. Escobar arm is a cannon but his range is limited due to his size.
        With that being said nobody in our roster has soft hand like Longoria or Cano. They have good range but they’re not smooth hand.

  34. Someone mentioned Chuck Knoblauch. Oh boy, I hope Romero just has a case of the ‘yips’ and we are all laughing about it a year from now.

  35. Send Romero down and pray that it does to him what it did to Halladay. It may do him some good to see a sports psychologist as well.

    • He does talk to one regularly. I’ve heard him speak about him in interviews. Maybe a new one is in order haha.

      • It just seems to me that if he’s physically fine, then it comes down to a couple of things: mechanics and a fragile psyche a.k.a. the yips. Perhaps he needs to be sent down a la Halladay to rebuild his confidence and his mechanics. It did wonders for Halladay.

  36. This season is a goner anyways. We need to embrace #TankNation2012 and keep Romero in the rotation.

    The only reason to send him down is if you think he can work on things better against minor league batters than against major league batters. Anyways, who do we replace him in the rotation with? Brett Cecil? Cecil hasn’t exactly earned a spot either. Hayhurst needs to take it down a notch.

  37. Callum’s a joke. Either he’s intentionally misreading Hayhurst’s comments for the sake of being inflammatory and is therefore a hypocrite, or he’s unintentionally misreading them and is therefore an idiot.

    Absolutely nothing wrong with pointing out that Ricky is embarrassed. He’s failing to meet expectations placed on him by others, but most importantly by himself. That’s natural.

    On Twitter Hayhurst suggested that a trip to the phantom DL might be in order to spare him the embarrassment of both failure and demotion. He’s clearly trying to be empathetic and thoughtful, not inflammatory.

    Besides, I almost stopped reading when he held Zaun up as an example to follow. What a tool.

    • Seems to me that he just let his dislike of Hayhurst blind him to what were totally reasonable comments about Romero. And you’re right, I also thought Dirk was trying to be empathetic.

  38. Like, six seconds of Dirk Hayhurst is more insightful than the previous several years of Buck, Tabby and, now, Zaun.

  39. RRRRRRelaaaaaaax…..

  40. A common hope is that RR will bounce back next year, but I’m not sure. If you look up seasons of 120+IP with RR’s peripheral (6.5K/9, 4.5+BB/9, 8.5H/9, ERA+ under 85) since 1992, only Colby Lewis and Vogelsong have bounced back to be above league average. Frightening.

    • At this point, I’m not sure if anybody knows what to expect from Romero going forward. It’s not really a question of his stuff (which is still there), it’s a question of the mental side and his confidence. Sometimes guys just lose that and never get it back.

      In any case, Romero’s lack of dependability makes the idea that we’re supposed to contend in 2013 even more of a questionable proposition. The best starter in our rotation now is a guy with a history of inconsistency (Morrow). The rest of it is just a huge question mark at this point.

  41. +1 for the Garfoose for actually adding value to the discussion, rather than pussyfooting around it like so many of his colleagues who simply shrug their shoulders and devalue the speakers on my TV (lookin’ at you, Buck!)

    Oh, and vote for Tom Cheek for the Ford C Frick Award!

  42. Take the incredibly heavy ACE chain from off his neck … let him lift his head up again. And then remember to deliberately not have an Ace on this team until someone plays it so that it is Totally Fucking Obvious to everyone. I know we can’t stop the media from using stupid, ignorant labels like Closer and Ace, but the team can certainly run a counter-narrative to all of that. I don’t know what the emotional/head thing Ricky has going down is, but I do know that he’s a proud guy and having to be like he is an let everyone down 2x a game. Once because of his shittiness and twice because he’s not being Ace enough.

    There are lots of really, really good pitchers who are not Ace and I suggest that Cliff Lee might be one of them … there are certainly NOT 30 of them in MLB. Let Ricky off that hook for starters and yes, tell him to throw strikes regardless of the results. The pitchers DO have the advantage unless they don’t do that.

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