Well this is slightly newsworthy:
#BlueJays option Ricky Romero to Dunedin
— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) March 26, 2013
The Halladay treatment! Except, almost certainly with less of a total overhaul involved, though we don’t know that just yet. Alex Anthopoulos is to speak with reporters this evening in Dunedin to address a decision that, despite the ugly look of it, probably makes more sense than having him trying to work out whatever is wrong with him with a Buffalo club that’s trying to be competitive in their own right. The warm weather in Dunedin can’t hurt, either.
Mike Wilner confirms the obvious, which is that J.A. Happ will now be the club’s fifth starter, while Barry Davis tweets that Alex Anthopoulos told reporters that Romero just ran out of time to get himself together.
Ricky Romero ran out of time to get himself right…in the longest spring training ever. Yep.
— Tao of Stieb(@TaoofStieb) March 26, 2013
The Tao’s scoffing certainly hits the nail on the head, though the fact that the club didn’t do anything to alter Romero’s mechanics until late in camp didn’t exactly help. And, according to Anthopoulos, it’s the mechanical issues that the thing.
John Lott tweets that Anthopoulos says Romero will stay in the minors for as long as it takes to “get him right,” and adds that the weather and the more relaxed environment in Dunedin were factors in the decision to send him there. Shi Davidi adds that he’ll work with roving pitching instructor Dane Johnson and rehab pitching coach Rick Langford in continuing to implement the changes.
Lott reports that the GM says the decision was made after the game today, after a discussion between Anthopoulos, John Gibbons, Pete Walker, and Tony LaCava, who unanimously decided that something needed to be done. According to Davidi, reporters were told that Romero showed flashes of maintaining his line to the plate, but needs to be consistent with it, while Lott adds that it has yet to be determined whether Romero will have to work his way back up the ranks, or whether he will stay in Dunedin until he’s deemed ready to return to Toronto.
“AA says it’s not mental with Ricky,” tweets Barry Davis. “It’s all about getting his mechanics right. He’ll be in minors as long as that takes.” Wilner adds that he’s looked good in his bullpen sessions and the club was hopeful that the changes would click in games, but they didn’t.
I certainly thought that today’s outing, while not great, but not awful, was a positive step for Romero– and maybe it was, but obviously not enough of one, and definitely not as “job-saving” as I figured. Perhaps it was masked by the fact that the Pirates were particularly aggressive, or that they brought such shitbags to town, or chose to hit their pitcher, but it certainly wasn’t like his last outing, in which he could barely get single-A hitters out. Obviously the Jays had seen enough, though, and while they run the risk of making their long-term lives more difficult– a well-performing Happ is going to be plenty hard to remove from the rotation– they did what they felt they had to do. And smartly waited to do so until the point where they felt they had to act.
Unfortunately for Romero, this kind massive length of rope won’t come so easily to him next time. In fact, things may never be quite the same again.