CSNPhilly.com colleague Leslie Gudel provides some breaking news on this snowy, football-less Sunday night. Left-hander J.C. Romero is coming back. (Getty Images)
More than two months after the Phillies declined J.C. Romero's $4.5 million option, the club has decided to bring him back at what is likely to be a much lesser rate. Romero, 34, went 1-0 with a 3.68 ERA and 28/29 K/BB in 60 games last season, roughly the same numbers posted by the Phillies original choice for this position, Dennys Reyes, whose deal fell through earlier this month. This will be Romero's fifth tour with the Phils after originally signing off waivers midway through the 2007 season. No word yet on the value of this deal, but it's likely to be somewhere in the $1.25 million range based on the deal originally agreed upon with Reyes, who allegedly flunked his physical. Romero missed significant time with elbow problems, underwent surgery and served a 50-game suspension for performance enhancing drugs, all in the last two years. Although he's walked more batters than he's whiffed over that span, he can still cause headaches for left-handed hitters and was able to stay healthy throughout most of the season.
Beerleaguer: At the very least, the situational lefty issue is off their plate. With a heavily fortified rotation, bullpen and the possible emergence of Antonio Bastardo as a complimentary, or even a primary, piece, the Phillies realized the shoe fits with Romero, who twirled 36 2-3 reasonably bearable innings last season and won't be asked to do much more than that. From last week's reports, it didn't like Romero intended to drive a hard bargain. He also admitted that he's seen better days and was eager to return to a comfortable situation.
There's a pretty good chance that Romero will experience his third-straight year of decline. If that's the case, the Phillies can always trade for help midseason if Bastardo doesn't pick up the slack. If Bastardo does emerge, Romero could be a terrific second lefty.