Archive for the ‘Ricky Romero’ Category

romerodown

Ricky Romero will make a pre-season start once more after today, but it’s hard to envision him being able to pull his spring out of the fire if this afternoon’s outing against the Pittsburgh Pirates goes tits up. So, with that in mind, I’m going to live blog every pitch of today’s outing, which can be heard via this page at this page at MLB.com.

Sound about right? OK, then, let’s do this…

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romerodown

Arash Madani of Sportsnet was in Dunedin today to follow Ricky Romero’s minor league start– in which last year’s Opening Day starter was scheduled to go five innings– and… um… it went about as well as the comments section on yesterday’s Lou Piniella post.

Below are Madani’s tweets, and while– like the title says– they’re pretty grim, they do need to come with the caveat that– as much as this was the completely transparently built-in excuse– he was working on new mechanics and nobody could have honestly expected him to have a Cy Young-calibre performance waiting to come out of him after a couple of tweaks. But yeah, it’s grim.

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RRthrowingstands

When Ricky Romero came out in his first start of the spring throwing sinkers, nobody had any idea that’s what he was doing. The team certainly didn’t announce it to the world, and I suspect would hardly have made mention of it had it not been for the questions raised by his sluggish velocity and imprecise command. Had the results been better the sinker experiment may still have come up in the course of the day’s reporting, but for lack of a better term, the way it was offered was as an excuse.

And, magical space daddy’s honest truth, at the time that was fine. Here’s what I wrote following the game, which I witnessed first-hand in Dunedin:

It’s hard not to, but I think it would be slightly cruel of me to put Ricky Romero’s effort on the day down in the “ugly” category, especially since it’s still damn February, and his struggles are supposedly due to the fact that he was trying to throw sinkers– a pitch he went away from considerably in 2012, as Brandon Morrow supposedly pointed out to him, via Brooks Baseball. Neil Davidson of the Canadian Press, via the Globe and Mail says as much in his piece on the lacklustre outing, though the Globe’s own Jeff Blair gives a slightly different take, seeming as though he’s trying to pull back from the edge of sounding too many alarms, but evoking 2012 Brett Cecil and the “it’s early, everything is fine” song and dance that went along with his spring struggles a year ago. Of course, it is too early to portend doom for anybody, but rather than divert us from a simple sub-par outing, my sense is that the flimsy excuse-making coming from the Jays probably makes us focus undue attention on a relatively meaningless spring debut. Because, I tell you what, I was sitting directly pretty behind the plate, and if Romero was throwing sinkers all day, by the end they sure as shit weren’t sinking– they weren’t real close to the strike zone either, from my vantage. I can buy that explanation for the lack of velocity for now, but for me it’s certainly going to put more scrutiny on his next outing, not less. Though I guess that was inevitable anyway.

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romeromonochromeFAES

The line for Ricky Romero didn’t look particularly horrific today. Not great, mind you, but not absolute disasterfuck. He tossed three innings– was scheduled for four– giving up three runs on five hits, and two walks with four strikeouts. The issue, however, as it’s been since the end of Spring Training last year, was his ability to throw strikes.

By Wilner’s count it was 62 pitches, 32 of which were strikes. Which… is not good.

Last season Romero threw the eleventh-most balls among qualified pitchers, on the fewest number of pitches of anyone in the top 30 save for Barry Zito, and with the fewest number of strikes thrown among the top 45, save for Tommy Hanson. Which… is not good.

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Minnesota Twins v Toronto Blue Jays

The Fan 590′s Prime Time Sports has taken its show on the road to Dunedin this week, which has meant for a tonne of Jays coverage, including back-to-back interviews on Wednesday with a much more articulate and intelligent-sounding Brett Lawrie than we tend to give him credit for around here, and Ricky Romero, who offered some interesting insight into his struggles and his health– and at the very end made sure to sneak in some praise for J.A. Happ, too!

Especially interesting, in my mind, were his statements about his knee troubles, and the platelet rich plasma injections he received in the off-season, which you can see transcribed below. Or you can listen to the audio here– including the chat with Brett Lawrie, as well as one with Matt Smoral (whose name was being pronounced with emphasis on the “a”). Romero’s segment starts at the 14 minute mark.

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Toronto Blue Jays v New York Yankees

It never quite ceases to amaze me that there’s this conception among fans that athletes should think the same way about the good of the team and the sanctity of the game as they do. This arose earlier this winter in the fan reaction to the bluff made by Darren Oliver’s agent in an attempt to extract more money from the club, and I’m seeing it again today after sixth starter J.A. Happ voiced his displeasure with appearing to be ticketed for Buffalo to start the season.

“Considering it’s spring you’d think he would just keep his mouth shut and do what is good for the team. There’s no way AA is going to trade at this point in time no matter how much he cries? He’s still making major league money, time to suck it up,” says one comment.

“Happ needs to check his ego at the door and realize its all about winning,” says another. “Yeah, playing in the minors sucks but hes the 6th starter for fucks sakes. Its basically a given he will be up at some point and it could be even earlier if romero continues to suck.”

There are elements of these comments that I can’t help but agree with. The first is absolutely right that Happ doesn’t have much of a choice in the matter and should probably do a better job of not talking about it. The second is bang on about the fact that Happ isn’t very likely to wind up as John Lannan, who spent the bulk of 2012 in the minors after making 122 big league starts over the previous four years. The Nationals had remarkable health in their rotation last year– remarkable effectiveness, too– and it’s a solid bet that the Jays’ collection of arms aren’t going to quite be so otherworldly fortunate.

What’s missing, of course, is that Happ is concerned about his earning power as he heads into his third and final year of arbitration. Being “stuck” on this team as opposed to a number of others, where he’d actually get to start, could end up costing him two- or three-million dollars– if he stays down for a significant portion of the year. That’s not a tiny amount for a player of Happ’s stature in the game, even though it drives fans batty to think that someone could have the audacity to be upset when he’s already being paid more money than most of us could ever dream of. These players have a very short window in their lives in which to capitalize on the earning potential their baseball abilities, and at least a decade of full-on dedication to the sport have afforded them.

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I get the feeling that being demoted to the minors after nearly seven hundred games in the Majors, including a Silver Slugger season, passed through waivers, unclaimed, then specifically not mentioned by your General Manager as one of the club’s core pieces, maaaaaybe has a rather dramatic impact on the number of fucks you can possibly give about saying the safe thing when you go on the radio to discuss the upcoming season. Because… Adam Lind, everybody!

Lind spoke on Jeff Blair’s show this morning (audio here)– Sportsnet’s Mike Cormack transcribed it– and… OK, it’s maybe not mind-blowingly salacious or anything, and maybe athletes now are just so media coached to death that a little bit of honesty seems way bigger than it is, but he made couple notable comments, at the very least.

For example, asked whether the presence of a Mark Buehrle will help the club, Lind noted that it would help Ricky Romero in particular.

“I think there’s a bunch of guys in our clubhouse that’ll benefit from that,” he explained. “You put yourself in the situation of our clubhouse last year and Ricky was considered the veteran leader even though he had four years of service time and really, in the grand scheme of things, that’s not a veteran at all. And that’s part of going the young route and we’ve changed that and it’ll probably take some pressure off Ricky, it’ll take some pressure off me.”

Oh, it gets better…

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