The continuing effort to improve their bullpen has resulted in the Los Angeles Dodgers choosing to sign a relief pitcher whose greatest days came as a member of the Dodgers’ arch enemy, the San Francisco Giants. The signing of right hander Sergio Romo was recently announced, with the hope of the Dodgers being that he can regain somewhere close to his previous high level of success.
Romo will be 34 years old when Opening Day arrives and has spent his nine previous seasons with the Giants. He collected 84 saves during that time frame, though 75 of those came during the seasons from 2012 to 2014.
During that first season, Romo had only 14 saves, but then put on a clinic in that year’s World Series, when he tossed three perfect innings while collecting saves in each of the last three games. Seasons with 38 and 23 saves, respectively, followed before his numbers slipped during the past two years.
With the Dodgers, Romo won’t have to worry about closing out games since that position is already in the capable hands of Kenley Jansen, who re-signed for five years, $80 million. The move mirrors a similar move from a few years ago, when former Giants closer Brian Wilson signed with Los Angeles. However, the Dodgers are hoping that history doesn’t repeat itself, considering that the move proved to be a failure.
Romo will be used as Jensen’s setup man, and is only costing the team $3 million. That’s a pittance for the Dodgers, who ended up cutting Wilson midway through the second year of a deal that was paying him $9.5 million during that season.
In truth, Romo is a much better fit than the combustible Wilson. The lower salary is just a small segment of the overall picture, considering that a good portion of Romo’s season last year saw him plagued with elbow problems.
The Dodgers have presumably done their due diligence when it comes to that situation. If he’s healthy, Romo’s slider can serve as a potent weapon and allow the Dodgers to shut down teams during the final two innings of any game in which they’re leading. I am already excited to watch their matchups with the Mets schedule and see Romo duel it out against Familia.
The need for additional assets in the bullpen was obvious, considering that Los Angeles lost players like Joe Blanton. Yet filling that setup role was an important aspect of improving the roster, since this was considered a group effort last season. Manager Dave Roberts would prefer not having to cross his fingers and hope that a particular night’s selection achieves success.
Since winning their last World Series in 1988, the Dodgers have reached the postseason on 10 occasions, which includes each of the last four years. Each of those campaigns saw Los Angeles win the National League West Division, yet end in frustrating fashion.
Romo is one piece of a huge puzzle for this season, but he could end up playing a key role in the Dodgers finally getting over the hump and making it back to the Fall Classic.