Tag:J.C. Romero
Posted on: January 29, 2012 4:37 pm
 

Cardinals shopping RHP Kyle McClellan

Kyle McClellanBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The Cardinals are "actively shopping" right-hander Kyle McClellan, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Joe Strauss writes, but general manager John Mozeliak told him he expects McClellan to be with the team when pitchers and catchers report next month.

According to Strauss, the Orioles are the leaders if the Cardinals do indeed move McClellan, who is due $2.5 million next season. The Padres and Diamondbacks are other teams who have expressed interest. However, an Orioles official told MASNSports.com's Roch Kubatko that he didn't expect the Cardinals to move McClellan.

The 27-year-old McClellan began 2011 as a starter, but moved back to the bullpen after the team acquired Edwin Jackson. He was not on the team's roster for the division series or World Series. Overall, McClellan was 12-7 with a 4.19 ERA in 43 games and 17 starts last season. He was 6-6 with a 4.21 ERA in his starts and 6-1 with a 4.14 ERA in 26 games. He struck out 76 batters in 141 2/3 innings.

McClellan was a starter in the minors, but didn't start a game in the majors until 2011. He had a 2.27 ERA in 68 games in 2010 with 60 strikeouts in 75 1/3 innings. He's 19-22 with a 3.61 ERA in his career, picking up six saves.

THe Cardinals have a surplus of relievers, with Eduardo Sanchez, Lance Lynn, Fernando Salas and Mitchell Boggs as right-handed set-up men for closer Jason Motte, with lefties Marc Rzepczynski and J.C. Romero.

The team could also use the money saved on McClelllan, a St. Louis native, for starter Roy Oswalt, who has expressed interest in joining the Cardinals.

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Posted on: December 27, 2011 3:38 pm
Edited on: December 27, 2011 3:46 pm
 

Voting for the 2011 MLB Bloggies, Part II



By C. Trent Rosecrans


With just a few days left until 2012 brings us a whole new year, it's only fitting to look back at the year that was. Sure, there's an actual baseball season, including spring training, the regular season and the postseason, but things happen nearly every day throughout the entire calendar year. So we're going to create a fake award and call it a Bloggie. 

We'll set the table with some nominations and let you, our readers, vote for the winners. We did Part I on Monday and this is Part II: Electric Boogaloo. Friday, we'll post the winners and our staff picks. Without further ado ...

Best Twitterer
• @JGuthrie46 (Jeremy Guthrie): The Orioles starter loves his Air Jordans and often gives updates on his newest kicks, but he also trash talks with his teammates in an entertaining feed.
• @BMcCarthy32 (Brandon McCarthy): The A's right-hander may be the most prolific tweeter of English Premier League analysis in baseball. He also shows off a great sense of humor.
@LoMoMarlins (Logan Morrison): The Marlins' brass may disagree, but Morrison is candid and entertaining with his tweets, even if it got him in trouble with the front office.
@DatDudeBP (Brandon Phillips): Phillips not only engages with his fans on Twitter, but also brings them into his real life. He's held contests to give away not just merchandise, but also a trip to spring training and even asked fans what to do on a day off, and when a kid invited him to his baseball game, Phillips showed up.
@str8edgeracer (C.J. Wilson): The off-season's most sought-after starter tweeted during the season, throughout the World Series and even in free agency.



Biggest bonehead move
• A-Rod's popcorn snafu: Usually having a famous actress feed you popcorn is a badge of honor -- unless you're Alex Rodriguez. Not only did Fox cameras catch then-girlfriend Cameron Diaz feeding A-Rod popcorn during the Super Bowl, but then Rodriguez made it worse by allegedly was upset about the shot.
Mike Leake's shopping spree: The second-year Reds pitcher was arrested for taking $60 worth of shirts from a downtown Cincinnati Macy's in April. He eventually pled guilty to a lesser charge.
• Distracted baserunner: The Reds and Phillies went 19 innings on May 25, but the game could have ended earlier -- with a different winner -- had Phillips been playing more attention to pitcher J.C. Romero than to his conversation with Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins. While gabbing with Rollins, Romero picked Phillips off at second. What made it worse was that the Reds had two on and one out -- and were a ball away from loading the bases -- before Phillips got picked off. After walking Scott Rolen, Romero walked Jay Bruce to load the bases with two outs, but David Herndon replaced Romero to get out of the inning.
Beer and chicken: Beer and fried chicken are great things -- unless you're consuming those two in the clubhouse as your team is playing on the field. The backroom hijinks got Terry Francona fired and may have cost the Red Sox a shot at the playoffs.
Tony La Russa's communication breakdown: If the Cardinals hadn't come back to win the World Series, Tony La Russa's gaffe in Game 5 would go down as one of the worst of all time. La Russa claimed the crowd noise at Rangers Ballpark prevented him from communicating with his bullpen. He said he wanted his closer, Jason Motte, to get warmed up, and instead Lance Lynn was told to get warm. When Lynn came into the game, his manager was surprised and the Cardinals went on to lose the game.



Best celebration:
Brewers: Milwaukee's "Beast Mode" was inspired by Prince Fielder's kids and the movie Monsters, Inc.
Diamondbacks: Was the team's "Snake" inspired by the movie Dodgeball?
Yadier Molina: The Cardinal catcher either did a "cry baby" or motorcycle celebration during the NLCS.
Rangers: Texas' "claw and antler" started in 2010 and started the signaling to the dugout trend.
None, they're all lame.



Weirdest injury:
Jeremy Affeldt: The Giants left-hander suffered a deep cut that required surgery on his right hand when he used a knife to attempt to separate frozen hamburger patties.
Sergio Escalona: The Houston reliever suffered a spraining ankle when he tripped over a glove during batting practice.
Matt Holliday: The Cardinals left fielder left a game after a moth flew into his ear.
Zack Greinke: The Brewers' ace debuted on the disabled list after he broke a rib in a pickup basketball game before spring training started.
Chris Narveson: Another Brewer pitcher with an odd injury, the left-hander cut himself while fixing his glove.

 

Most Impressive home run:
Juan Francisco

Justin Upton

• Prince Fielder

Mark Trumbo

Mike Stanton




Best defensive play:
Asdrubal Cabrera

Brandon Phillips

Ben Revere

Jeff Francoeur

Sam Fuld




So, cast your vote and check back Friday for not only the winners, but also the choices from our staff.

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Posted on: December 15, 2011 5:05 pm
 

Cardinals sign J.C. Romero

By Matt Snyder

The St. Louis Cardinals have signed left-handed relief pitcher J.C. Romero, the ballclub announced Thursday afternoon. The contract is, unsurprisingly, a one-year deal.

“Romero is a proven lefty specialist, who has been a valuable bullpen piece for winning teams throughout his career,” Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said in a statement. “We felt that it was important to maintain versatility and depth within our bullpen and we feel that J.C will be a solid addition.”

Romero, 35, certainly was a valuable member of the Phillies bullpen for several years, including their 2008 run to the World Series title. He worked in 4 2/3 innings that World Series, only allowing two hits while striking out four. He actually picked up two victories by being in the game when the Phillies took the lead.

Last season, though, was a game of musical chairs for Romero. He was released by the Phillies in June. He would then be picked up by and released by the Nationals and Yankees without appearing in a major-league game before sticking with the Rockies. So he appeared in games for four different organizations, but only two in the bigs.

The stat-line for Romero in 36 appearances, combining his stints with the Phillies and Rockies, was a 4.01 ERA, 1.74 WHIP, 19 strikeouts and 15 walks in 24 2/3 innings. He had a 70.4 percent strand rate, but his control has been a major issue the past several years.

FREE AGENT TRACKER

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Posted on: November 25, 2011 3:09 pm
Edited on: November 26, 2011 1:38 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Minnesota Twins



By C. Trent Rosecrans


What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no waivers, no minor- or major-league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. 

For years, the Minnesota Twins were the model of how to build a consistent winner in a small market. From 2001-2010, the Twins appeared in the playoffs six times and recorded just one losing season. But the wheels fell off in 2011, with a mixture of bad fortune and bad pitching. The Twins have two former MVPs in their lineup, but it would be tough to find two former MVPs who did less in 2011 than Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer. Those two homegrown players were supposed to be cornerstones for the franchise, but their performance last season was more fitting a tombstone. The team's fortunes, for better or worse, will be tied to those two for the next few years.

Lineup

1. Denard Span, CF
2. Michael Cuddyer, 3B
3. Joe Mauer, 1B
4. Justin Morneau, DH
5. Torii Hunter, RF
6. Jason Kubel, LF
7. Wilson Ramos, C
8. Danny Valencia, 2B
9. Tsuyoshi Nishioka, SS

Starting Rotation

1. Matt Garza
2. Nick Blackburn
3. Kevin Slowey
4. Brian Duensing
5. Anthony Swarzak

Bullpen

Closer - Jesse Crain
Set up - LaTroy Hawkins, J.C. Romero, Pat Neshek, Glen Perkins, Grant Balfour, Peter Moylan

Notable Bench Players

A.J. Pierzynski, Ben Revere, Luke Hughes, Trevor Plouffe.

What's Good?

With Ramos and Pierzynski on the roster, there's zero reason for Mauer to get anywhere near catching gear -- unless it's for another commercial. With Mauer freed of pitching duties, he can concentrate on first base and Justin Morneau doesn't have to worry about playing in the field. Even though Morneau is a very good defensive first baseman, keeping him off the field could keep him on the field. Last year he suffered concussion-like symptoms after merely diving for a ball. Limiting his risks for a recurrence of head injuries should be a top priority for the Twins, and the easiest way to do that solves the team's other big problem, getting the most out of their long-term deal with Mauer. While the Twins don't have anyone on this list with a large number of saves on their resume, there are a ton of good relievers.

What's Not?

It's a good thing the team has good relievers, because they're going to need them -- and even more than the seven listed above. The rotation, after Garza, is shaky. That rotation isn't going to get much help from its defense, either. The roster makeup requires several position shuffles, including Cuddyer to third, a position he's played, but is not too keen on playing. The Twins also have to put Nishioka at shortstop. Although he played there some in 2011, the team signed Jamey Carroll to play shortstop every day in 2012 for a reason.

Comparison to real 2011

Well, if you thought it couldn't get much worse in Minnesota than it did in 2011, it may with this lineup and rotation. Minnesota went 63-99 in 2011, and it probably breaks the 100-loss barrier with this squad, but don't expect them to be historically bad, so it'd probably only cost four-to-eight wins in my unscientific research. Either way, it's an ugly summer in Minneapolis.

Up next: Pittsburgh Pirates

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Posted on: July 14, 2011 10:03 am
Edited on: July 14, 2011 3:19 pm
 

Pepper: Brewers on hunt for infield help

Betancourt

By Evan Brunell

WHAT'S NEXT? Now that the Brewers have traded for Francisco Rodriguez and beefed up their bullpen, what's next?

Anyone who has been keeping tabs on Milwaukee can tell you that a shortstop and third baseman are next on the list. Yuniesky Betancourt hasn't been a competent hitter or fielder for years, yet continues to hold down a starting job; if Milwaukee can find a replacement, Betancourt will be sent on his way. Third base was supposed to be populated by Casey McGehee, who drove in 100 runs last season. Alas, he's been terrible offensively, which has shined a spotlight on his below-average defense.

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports indicates that the Brew Crew is indeed pursuing left-infield help as the club makes a run for the postseason in Prince Fielder's final season.

Rosenthal brings up Dodgers infielder Jamey Carroll, who is having one of his best big-league seasons at age 37, but he hasn't been made available yet. If Baltimore's contract extension with J.J. Hardy falls through, the Brewers could look into re-acquiring their former shortstop. Also linked to the team is Royals third baseman Wilson Betemit, but he wouldn't really be a significant upgrade over McGehee.

Who else could be had? Well, Houston is solidly out of the postseason chase and has been dangling Jeff Keppinger for some time. The Marlins could move out free-agent-to-be Omar Infante and if the Padres throw in the towel, Orlando Hudson and Jason Bartlett would certainly be options.

There's no sliver bullet available here unless GM Doug Melvin has a magic trick up his sleeve, but there won't be that much trouble upgrading from McGehee and Betancourt. They've been poor enough on both sides of the ball that even an all-glove, no-hit player would outproduce these players.

DONE WITH TWITTER?
Sounds as if Orioles center fielder Adam Jones may be done with Twitter; no word on why. (@SimplyAJ10)

UPPER DECK CLOSING: The Marlins are following in the footsteps of the A's, who closed the upper deck of the stadium several years ago. Now, Florida is following suit as the paucity of people in the upper deck did not justify cost of ushers, personnel, concession stands and the like. (Miami Herald)

JETER MARKET HOT: Other than the World Series victories, Steiner Sports says the rush to get memorabilia for Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit is like never before. "It's like a mini-World Series," Mitchell Modell of Modell's said. (New York Times)

CHISENHALL OK: Indians prospect Lonnie Chisenhall was recently promoted to the majors and took a fastball off the face for his trouble. Now that the All-Star Break is past, Chisenhall thinks he's ready to play again despite a nasty bruise. (MLB.com)

WASHINGTON OR NEW YORK: It looks as if J.C. Romero will be in the majors at some point over the next couple of weeks. Released by the Phillies, the left-handed reliever plans to opt out of his contract with the Nationals by Friday if they don't promote him. In that case, he's headed to the Yankees. (ESPN MLB)

STOW PART OF BANKRUPTCY CASE: The family of Brian Stow, currently suing the Dodgers for culpability in the beating that left the Giants fan in a coma, has been named as a representative creditor in the bankruptcy case. Along with four other parties, the Stow family will represent unsecured creditors as owner Frank McCourt tries to navigate bankruptcy court.

FINALLY AN ALL-STAR: Kirk Gibson turned down two opportunities to participate in the All-Star Game as a player, much to his father's chagrin. But the former baseball standout finally went to his first All-Star Game when he joined Giants skipper Bruce Bochy in Phoenix as a coach. (MLB.com)

BAD BUCK: Joe Buck's lousy calling of the All-Star Game was making waves as it happened, and now a sports-radio personality blogs his take. In short: It's time for Buck to go away until his voice is fully healed. (Detroit Free-Press)

PERSONALITY CHECK: It's always nice to learn more about Yankees players outside of the game, and there's plenty of information here. For example, Sergio Mitre grew up fighting in the streets of Tijuana, Mexico and no Yankee would want to be without the reliever if they were in a fight. And surprisingly, Bartolo Colon would win an arm-wrestling match. (Wall Street Journal)

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Posted on: June 16, 2011 4:14 pm
Edited on: June 16, 2011 4:18 pm
 

Romero designated for assignment

By Matt Snyder

The Phillies have designated left-handed reliever J.C. Romero for assignment and recalled Vance Worley in a corresponding move. The Phillies will now have 10 days to either trade or waive Romero, but the move generally leads to a player's release.

Romero, 35, was an extremely valuable reliever for the Phillies in 2007 and 2008 after coming over in a trade from the Red Sox. In 2008, he appeared in 81 games, compiling a 2.75 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 59 innings. He only appeared in 21 games the following season, as he tested positive for PEDs. This season, Romero has appeared in 24 games and has a 3.86 ERA, but he's given up 16 hits and 12 walks in 16 1/3 innings. He signed a $1.35 million deal to return to the Phillies for the 2011 season.

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Posted on: February 27, 2011 2:16 pm
Edited on: February 27, 2011 2:29 pm
 

Are lefty specialists crucial to baseball?

Lopez

By Evan Brunell

Warning: far too many words are about to be typed in regards to lefty specialists.

As part of Nick Cafardo's weekly Sunday Notes section in the Boston Globe, the longtime reporter writes that "The Red Sox can only hope that Rich Hill, with his new sidearm delivery, is as effective as [Javier] Lopez was for the Giants last season. ... Lopez is proof how valuable a tough lefty specialist is, offsetting the biggest lefthanded bats at the most crucial times."

There's certainly no doubting that an effective lefthanded specialist can serve a major purpose, especially when it comes time for the postseason. But to emerge with a left-handed specialist takes a healthy dose of luck and constant failures on the pitcher's end -- and given how lefty specialists need to be limited in their exposure to right-handed batters, their impact on the regular season is fairly minimal.

Take Lopez, for example. Lopez (pictured) washed out of the Red Sox system after four years pitching primarily at the major league level and largely functioned as a lefty specialist, otherwise known as  LOOGY -- Lefty One Out GuY. While Lopez equipped himself ably in that role, he was never the lockdown specialist on display last October. In fact, such specialists tend to come and go, with failed histories as a starter and reliever in their past. 

This makes sense, as the best possible position one can be in as a pitcher is as starting pitcher. The vast majority of pitchers drafted that climb the ladder are pitchers, and many relievers in the game today have minor- or college-level experience as a starter. Only fairly recently has relief become specialized both in and outside professional baseball thanks to the increased emphasis on a bullpen, but the general rule of thumb of relievers being failed starters still holds true. 

Much in the same vein, relievers are tasked with getting multiple batters out, no matter the handedness. But even that is problematic for lefty specialists, who tend to bounce around from team to team or have one glaring deficiency that is masked by being an effective LOOGY. Take J.C. Romero, for example. Romero came up as a middle reliever with the Twins but near the end of his tenure had disintegrated. He joined the Red Sox but was hurriedly released after 23 games and since has settled in as a LOOGY with the Phillies. Problem: Romero walks batters at an obscene amount. Even his 5.1 BB/9 as a career mark doesn't do it justice; over the last two seasons, Romero has appeared in 81 games of 53 1/3 innings, walking 42 (7.1 BB/9) and striking out 40 (6.8 K/9). These are simply awful numbers that wouldn't fly in the majors or minors in any other capacity other than a lefty specialist.

Other LOOGYs have similar problems: some have no control (Will Ohman), some can't strike out anyone (Joe Beimel), some have seen their ability regress due to age (Arthur Rhodes) or injury (George Sherrill) and some just can't get it done against righties, period (Randy Choate). (Did you notice that all of these names have bounced around the majors and have previous histories as starters and/or effective relievers?) And yet, they're still hanging around pulling in millions of dollars. That's because they get left-handed hitters out effectively.

Back to Lopez. While in Boston, the club tried to make Lopez effective against batters from both sides of the plate. He succeeded in some aspects, proving to get timely double plays, but for the most part ended up with egg on his face. The Red Sox gave up and opted not to bring him back for 2010, so Lopez signed with the Pirates before later being traded to the Giants. And Boston is a team that values left-handed relievers to a point they strive to carry two every year, one with a specific task of getting lefties out. Yet, on a grand scale, the Red Sox have no patience for LOOGYs. Even as Mike Myers was befuddling Hideki Matsui in the glory year of 2004, Boston was trying to find a way to get Myers to soak up more innings and eventually settled on him as mopup man.

That's because LOOGYs just don't pitch enough innings over the course of a full season to make it worthwhile. Sure, a late-September matchup with a postseason spot on the line calls for a LOOGY. And where would the Giants be without Lopez's 1-for-18 showing against Ryan Howard and Chase Utley in the NLCS?

But lefty specialists are very much so a job for the postseason, not the regular season. Most lefty specialists struggle to crack 50 innings pitched, and a fair amound settle in around 30-40 innings pitched a year. To put this in context, someone who satisfies the rule required to earn a quality start (six innings pitched and no more than three earned runs for an ERA of 4.50) will reach 30 innings pitched before the end of April. Myers is perhaps the poster-boy for LOOGYs here, pitching just 30 2/3 innings for the Yankees in 2006 despite making 62 appearances. (The year before, in his final stint with Boston, Myers pitched 37 1/3 innings in 65 appearances.)

That's simply not enough innings to help the entire pitching corps slog through the dog days. But once the bright lights turn on and every baseball game is on national TV, getting a left-handed hitter out can mean the difference between a World Series ring and heartbreak.

So how to best approach the conundrum of needing a lefty specialist during September and October but not prior? Well, the simple answer is to get a left-handed reliever that is good no matter who steps to the plate. But even then, having just one of these pitchers can be problematic. The White Sox have Matt Thornton, but signed Ohman as lefty specialist while Sherrill joined the Braves despite the presence of Johnny Venters. Why? Because skippers need these lefties to pitch later in games -- the 8th, the 9th -- as actual setup men and closers. LOOGYs, meanwhile, can be deployed much earlier for one batter in the 6th or 7th -- even the 8th, pushing back the arrival of better lefties to the ninth inning. But not a one wouldn't take a lefty that can get batters out regardless of handedness over a LOOGY. In fact, the Red Sox are hoping Rich Hill can be their lefty specialist -- but they would love to be able to deploy Hill against right-handers as well and have stated they will not pick a lefty specialist over a right-handed reliever if the latter is the better pitcher.

The answer, then, likely lies in simply acquiring these assets as the season goes on. Lefty specialists grow on trees: they're available on waiver wires all year long, can be plucked from a down-and-out team at minimal cost, promoted from the minors, cajoled out of quasi-retirement... finding a LOOGY is not difficult. After all, they washed out as a starter and as a reliever -- and some even washed out as LOOGYs. Finding one is not the issue. So why carry one which limits your bullpen and provides minimal impact until later in the season? Yes, a game in April counts just as much as a game in September, but what of bullpens that gets burned out during one particularly long game and then can't stand up to the task of winning a game the next day? (It should be noted, however, that in games after the sixth inning with one or zero runs separating both teams, a lefty specialist is important, especially with teams that have poor offenses. It's certainly not being said that lefty specialists don't have their place -- they do. But at what cost?)

The Red Sox are a good example on how they approach acquiring assets that are important down the stretch without compromising the entire season. In 2004, the club acquired Dave Roberts to be its speed demon. In both 2007 and 2008, the BoSox imported left-handed hitters to come off the bench and provide a spark. In 2007, Bobby Kielty hit what was eventually the game-winning home run to sweep the World Series. In 2008, Mark Kotsay played in 10 of 11 possible postseason games as a starter, shoring up the first base offense and defense after Mike Lowell went down -- but he was acquired for other reasons, namely outfield depth and as a left-handed bat off the bench.

Oftentimes, World Series are won by the shrewd acquisition of average players that fill a specific need. Many times, these needs don't become readily apparent to a team until the season starts, but other times, these needs are known beforehand and will be addressed during the season. Lefty specialists are one of these needs that don't need immediate addressing to start the season, especially if only contributing 30 innings a season.

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Posted on: December 27, 2010 11:14 am
 

Report: Phillies to bring back Romero

After declining J.C. Romero's $4.5 million option in October, the Phillies have struck a deal to bring back the left-handed reliever at a lower rate, according to a report from CNSPhilly.com.

Romero, 34, missed most of the 2009 season with an elbow injury, and had an uneven 2010 in which he struggled with his control while posting a 3.68 ERA and 29 walks in 36 2/3 innings. That made him a bad bet at $4.5 million, but the Phillies still wanted the lefty in their bullpen. No word on the financial terms, but whatever they're paying him, you can tack on $250,000 -- that's the buyout they paid him when they declined the option.

-- David Andriesen

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com