According to multiple reports, the Phillies have passed on J.C. Romero's $4.5M option and will pay the left-handed reliever a $250,000 buyout.
The 34-year-old reliever, who first came to Philadelphia as a waiver claim in mid-2007, pitched four effective seasons with the Phils, appearing in 60 games (32 2-3 innings) and posting a 3.68 ERA and 28/29 K/BB ratio this season following offseason surgery to repair a flexor tendon in his pitching elbow. In 213 games for the Phillies between 2007-10, Romero went 6-6 with a 2.60 ERA in 148 2-3 innings. He retired the only three batters he facd this postseason. He will now become a free agent.
Beerleaguer: There's really no way for the Phillies to justify spending $4.5 million for Romero, although they could certainly entertain the idea of bringing him back on a one-year deal at a reduced rate. Romero's impact had diminished over the last few years due to injury and the 50-game suspension, but there's no denying that he greatly stabilized a very unstable bullpen situation beginning in late 2007. Moving ahead, the situational lefty spot, which will now default to the improved but inconsistent Antonio Bastardo, will become one of the biggest items on Ruben Amaro's winter agenda.
Readers remember Romero: "I will remember Romero fondly. Without him, there is a good chance this team doesn't make the playoffs in '07 or win the World Series in '08. Besides maybe Wild Thing, there isn't a Phils' reliever I can remember that would get in and out of trouble as fast as Romero." - MG