Detroit Tigers should add left-hander Enny Romero

PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 18: Enny Romero #72 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches during the ninth inning against the Colorado Rockies at PNC Park on April 18, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 18: Enny Romero #72 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches during the ninth inning against the Colorado Rockies at PNC Park on April 18, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Tigers should be targeting young players that other teams have cast aside. Left-hander Enny Romero fits that bill, and could be had for cheap.

The Detroit Tigers are almost certainly going to trade a couple of their pitchers before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Francisco Liriano and Mike Fiers are very likely going to be dealt. Shane Greene is a trade candidate as well, although his most recent injury could change that.

Matthew Boyd and Michael Fulmer are trade candidates, although the Tigers have enough team control that they don’t have to move them. Lastly, Alex Wilson and Blaine Hardy could certainly be moved as well.

Should the Tigers make a couple of moves, they’ll need some warm bodies to pitch for them in the second half of the year. Most of their highly touted pitching prospects are not ready for the big leagues, and the Tigers will not be in any hurry to rush them to the big leagues and start their service time clock.

Thus, the Tigers should be checking in on any free agent pitchers who they could acquire on the cheap and plug into their rotation or bullpen for the rest of the season. While there are plenty of veteran options, it couldn’t hurt for them to take a look at some younger, riskier options. After all, if they don’t work out it’s not like the Tigers are playing for anything this season. And every once in a while, a player with a lot of talent becomes available.

Currently, a possible target for the Tigers is left-handed pitcher Enny Romero, whom the Pirates designated for assignment on Monday.

Who is Enny Romero?

Romero was originally signed by the Rays as an amateur free agent in 2008 at age 17. He pitched in their minor league system for six years before making one spot start with them in 2013. He spent all of 2014 in Triple-A as a starter, making 25 starts and earning a 4.50 ERA (3.91 xFIP).

Romero transitioned to the bullpen and threw 75 2/3 innings for the Rays between 2015 and 2016. While his 5.59 ERA was certainly not good, he did post a much better 4.00 FIP in that time.

He was released and ended up catching on with the Nationals, where he had his best big league season in 2017. Romero tossed 55 2/3 innings, earning a 3.56 ERA and a 65/23 K/BB ratio. That was good for a solid 10.51 K/9. He even got a chance at the closing job, earning two saves with Washington that season.

Romero has only tossed six big league innings in 2018, two with Washington and the other four with Pittsburgh. He just came off the disabled list and was designated for assignment by the Pirates, who needed to keep him on their 25-man roster or else DFA him.

So, a 27-year-old pitcher with a 4.69 ERA and a 4.56 BB/9 in 142 big league innings doesn’t exactly scream ‘must-own’. However, Romero has one thing that makes him worth taking a chance on: Velocity.

Romero’s fastball averaged a blistering 97.8 miles per hour in 2017, reaching over 101 miles per hour on multiple occasions. The number of left-handers who scrape 100 mph can be counted on two hands, and the Tigers should absolutely consider adding Romero based on that alone.

Romero in Detroit

The Tigers have transitioned Blaine Hardy back into the bullpen. Hardy’s return, along with the return of Daniel Stumpf, gives the Tigers multiple left-handers in the pen for the first time in a while. However, Detroit is all but guaranteed to trade out of their rotation, which will likely shift Hardy back into the rotation. Hardy himself is a trade candidate as well, which would further deplete Detroit’s left-handed pitching options.

Adding a flame-throwing left-hander like Romero gives the Tigers another capable big league arm, and one who has the potential to develop into a late-inning option.

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If he does, the Detroit Tigers could control him for a few more years, and possibly flip him at a future deadline for more prospects. If his control continues to fail him and he doesn’t find any more big league success, than the team can cut him loose and find someone else from their Triple-A team to replace him. Ultimately, it’s a low-risk, medium-reward endeavor and the kind of move that a rebuilding Detroit Tigers team should be making at this stage.