UPDATE, Apparently this story is completely false–so says the source, quote unquote baseball insider Ken Rosenthal.
I hesitate to report this “rumor” after yesterday’s rumor and later denial involving Max Scherzer, so take it for what you will. Ken Rosenthal (the real one) has reported the Detroit Tigers are in talks for the services of reliever Sergio Romo.
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According to Rosenthal’s Tweet, the Tigers are not alone in their pursuit of the former San Francisco Giants closer–the Giants are still in talks of retaining his services.
Romo has played his entire career in San Francisco. Tigers fans remember rather painfully his dominance in three appearances in the 2012 World Series, including recording the final out that clinched the Giants sweep over the favored Tigers.
The 31-year old has impressive postseason numbers in 21.1 innings, allowing five runs on five hits. He was sharp this past fall, helping lead the Giants to their third title in five seasons but stumbled through some of the worst numbers of his career.
Still those numbers, 3.72 ERA, 23 strikeouts and 59 strikeouts in 58 innings would look favorable stacked up against the Tigers’ bullpen as a whole last year. He lost the closing role to Santiago Casilla midway through the regular season.
If Romo signed with the Tigers it would back load them with several players that have closed out games–or could close out games. Romo would join incumbent closer Joe Nathan, Joakim Soria, Joel Hanrahan (if healthy), and Bruce Rondon (failed attempt at closing in 2013).
As we saw last year with Soria, when a closer is removed from the ninth inning, it can be tough for them to adapt to their new role with the game not on the line. Also, unwilling to shake up the Joba Chamberlain-Nathan combination in innings 8-9, manager Brad Ausmus struggled to find a role for Soria.
With that said, Romo did become accustomed to his new role in the bullpen and would make a possible similar transition to Detroit easier.
With the Giants in the running, unless the Tigers are willing to offer a lot more, this might not happen. If the deals are similar you can imagine the player staying where he has started his career with a team and league he is familiar with.