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Ricky Romero Released By Giants’ Triple-A Affiliate, Now Let’s Get Something Straight

It was more tough news this weekend for the Blue Jays’ one-time ace, Ricky Romero, as he was released by the Sacramento River Cats of the Pacific Coast League. This, of course, also means that his time in the San Francisco Giants organization, where he’s tried to mount a comeback after being released by the Blue Jays in the spring of 2015, has come to an end.

Romero started four games for Sacramento this season, allowing 16 hits, 11 earned runs, and walking 16 in just 14.2 innings. They’re ugly numbers, and not really worth dwelling on. In fact, even bothering to commemorate Romero’s unceremonious release seems almost cruel at this point, doesn’t it? After all, we all know the Romero story, don’t we?

Well, that’s actually the thing that’s sparked this piece. Because I’m not sure everybody does quite know the Romero story.

With apologies for singling out the folks Jays Journal, who are surely not the only ones, here’s how their post on his release by Sacramento describes the end of Romero’s Blue Jays tenure:

In 2012, things continued to unravel for the California native, as he battled knee injuries and finished 9-14, and his ERA ballooned to 5.77 over 181 innings pitched. There have been conflicting reports of Romero pitching through injuries that season. Romero developed mechanical flaws that he has never been able to correct, and he’s been unable to regain the form that saw him as an All-Star in 2011.

Thaaaaaaaaaaat’s not quite how I’d put it.

For a long time fans were mystified by what happened to Romero. He suddenly just couldn’t throw strikes, and many thought it was more mental than physical. A theory I remember kicking around at the time, myself, was that Rays then-manager Joe Maddon had exposed the fact that Romero, even at the best of times, had struggled to get left-handers out, and as he continued to be fed more and more left-handed batters, his numbers plummeted. Others, like noted current manager of the shitbag Red Sox, John Farrell, felt the answer was more simple. After a tough July 2012 start, Farrell famously told reporters, “What I’d like to see from Ricky is just to get back to the basics. Where’s the tough kid from East L.A.?”

To be fair, I don’t know that Farrell knew at the time that what Romero was going through was far from more mental than physical. And that his toughness should have never been in doubt.

Last summer, with fans extraordinarily dumbly making comparisons between Romero’s breakdown and a then-slumping Marcus Stroman, Sportsnet’s Arden Zwelling laid it all out there:

That is the story of Ricky Romero and the end of his Blue Jays career.

Just so we’re clear.

  • Will Murray

    I always felt bad for him. For years people wished the Jays had drafted a hotshot shortstop, whose name escapes me, that lit the world on fire in Colorado. It didn’t completely make people forget, but having him arrive and put together a few good years, especially in 2011, was nice to see, especially as he seemed like a generally solid guy. It sucks that injuries derailed him, and while the Jays ate most of it after the fact, I’m glad he got himself paid.

  • Steve-O

    Thanks for this. I get legitimately angry at people who hand-wave away Romero’s struggles as some combination of sore knees and issues between the ears. The guy is tough as nails and trying to pitch through that kind of pain is nothing short of heroic.

  • Player to Be Named Later

    Thanks. Unlike a lot of guys whose bodies betray them, at least he banked a good paycheck. And considering that he’d already made enough to retire, the fact that he kept trying to make it back to the big leagues — slogging it out in the minors for five long and presumably painful years – speaks to his toughness.

  • fred2

    If they ever add a ‘Level of Shortlived or Compromised Excellence’ … a level honouring all the players who made watching the Jays in crappy years still worthwhile … then Ricky Romero should be up there with John McDonald. I’m also nominating Josh Towers, Eric Hinske and Raul Mondesi, just for shits and giggles.

  • El Cabeza

    This is the first I’ve heard of the details about Romero’s knees. I’m curious – why are there no full length articles on this? Why is the source of this knowledge some Zelling tweets that don’t cite any sources?