Twins closing in on deal with Romo (source)

December 17th, 2019

A reunion between and the Twins is nearing, multiple sources have told

Romo and Minnesota are finalizing a one-year deal with a club option for 2021. The club has not confirmed the deal, as it's pending Romo completing a physical.

The 2020 deal and the ’21 club option are each worth $5 million, according to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal. Romo’s salary doubles the $2.5 million that he earned in each of the past two seasons.

Acquired by the Twins from the Marlins ahead of last season’s Trade Deadline, Romo became a key cog for the American League Central champs, posting a 3.18 ERA over 27 outings and pitching in two outings against the Yankees in Minnesota’s AL Division Series defeat.

Even as he nears his 37th birthday on March 4, the 12-year right-hander has exhibited veteran value for a club aiming to remain in contention in 2020. Minnesota’s bullpen hasn’t been as glaring of a void as its other roster needs -- notably starting pitching and at least one power bat -- but Romo nonetheless fills a need for high-leverage innings, particularly given the implementation of the three-batter minimum rule next season.

Romo didn’t had overly pronounced splits against righties (.642 OPS against) than lefties (.656), and he pitched in high-leverage moments in more than 40 percent of his outings, according to Baseball-Reference. And after coming over via trade, along with pitching prospect Chris Vallimont and cash considerations in exchange for first-base prospect Lewin Díaz, Romo was Minnesota’s primary setup man for closer Taylor Rogers.

With Rogers, Romo will help round out a relief corps that proved plenty capable amid a pennant chase, along with Tyler Duffey (2.50 ERA and 12.8 strikeouts per nine innings) and Trevor May (2.94 ERA, 11.1 K/9). Cody Stashak also showed effectiveness after he was called up last season, with just one walk against 104 batters faced.

Romo brings experience and effectiveness, even with a fastball that he throws less than any pitcher in the Majors. His velocity has dipped since his days as the linchpin for the Giants during their three World Series title runs, but his secondary offerings remained effective. Romo’s slider accounted for 59.6 percent of his total usage in 2019, and opposing batters hit just .183 and slugged .305 against the slider with only three homers.

Romo carries a 2.92 ERA over 708 career games and a 3.55 ERA over 29 postseason outings. The Marlins, who signed Romo ahead of Spring Training last season, were also in the mix to bring him in for 2020.

In what’s been a mostly lukewarm offseason for Minnesota, president of baseball operations Derek Falvey and general manager Thad Levine have been vocal about their pursuit of an impact starter. And after Madison Bumgarner agreed to terms with the D-backs on Sunday, the pool has grown smaller. Hyun-Jin Ryu and Dallas Keuchel are the most prominent arms that remain available, and either would make a lot of sense to round out a unit that only includes José Berríos, Jake Odorizzi and Michael Pineda.