Twins acquire reliever Romo in deal with Marlins

July 28th, 2019

CHICAGO -- Minnesota made its first major move ahead of Wednesday’s Trade Deadline by acquiring veteran reliever , right-hander Chris Vallimont and a player to be named from the Marlins for first baseman Lewin Diaz.

If the Twins expect to reach their goals of winning the American League Central and making a deep run in the postseason, solidifying areas of need is imperative. They made their first such move on Saturday night by adding Romo to their bullpen.

Romo brings with him plenty of big-game experience, as he was a key member of the Giants' bullpen on three World Series-winning clubs.

“I know he's ultra-competitive,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “He wants the ball. He's scared of nothing. Everyone knows him as a pitcher. He's been around for a very long time. He's had a very successful career. He's pitched in some big, big spots. Once you get a chance to know him, you can see how he's had success in those spots.”

Romo is expected to join Minnesota on Sunday in Chicago, and his arrival should come as a boost to a young Twins bullpen, which entered Saturday's loss to the White Sox with a 4.41 ERA.

The move for Romo will take some pressure off closer Taylor Rogers, who has been one of baseball's best late-inning arms this season. Rogers is 2-2 with a 2.27 ERA in 39 games and leads the Twins with 15 saves.

"[Romo is] a guy that has done different things over the course of his career," Baldelli said. "He has some history, obviously, at the end of games."

Romo, 36, entered Saturday with a 3.58 ERA and 17 saves over 38 appearances this season. He has played for the Giants, Dodgers, Rays and Marlins during his career, posting a lifetime 2.91 ERA with 126 saves over his 12 seasons.

“I’ve seen him throw three or four days, I think, in a row and still want the ball again after that," Baldelli said. "Not everyone can do that, but you just see his desire to go out there and succeed for the team. It really stands out, and I think coming from a guy that has been in the biggest of moments, really, already in his career, it gives something for all of the less-experienced players to look at.”

“I think he's going to help us a lot," starting pitcher Martin Perez said. "Sergio is a guy that likes to compete. I don't know him very well, but I think the experience he has is going to be good for us, and it'll be good for our bullpen, too."

Romo signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Marlins in February.

Minnesota has been aggressive in its pursuit of pitching help. The Twins had a 10-game lead in the AL Central as recently as June 18, but the second-place Indians pulled within one game of Minnesota on Saturday night.

The 22-year-old Vallimont -- who was ranked as Miami's No. 23 prospect by MLB Pipeline -- has a 3.16 ERA in 19 starts this season between the Class A and Class A Advanced levels.

Diaz, 22, was ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Twins' No. 30 prospect. In 90 combined games at Class A Advanced Fort Myers and Double-A Pensacola this year, he hit .294 with 19 home runs, 27 doubles and 62 RBIs.