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Marlins sign Sergio Romo to one-year, $2.5 million deal, per report

The original Opener and three-time World Series champ gets a major-league deal from the Marlins.

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Marlins are in agreement with veteran right-hander Sergio Romo on a one-year, $2.5 million contract, according to a report from MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez on Tuesday night:

Romo, 35, won three World Series with the Giants and was an NL All-Star in 2013. He’s been somewhat inconsistent in recent seasons but gained notoriety in 2018 for his willingness to accept any role. He was the first guinea pig for the Rays’ ultimately successful Opener experiment, starting five games from mid-May through early June despite the fact that he had been a reliever for nearly his entire career. He wasn’t very successful as an Opener (7.71 ERA and 1.71 WHIP over 4.2 innings), but his willigness to be the trailblazer paved the way for guys like Ryne Stanek and Diego Castillo to eventually find more success in that role. Later on, he moved into Tampa’s closer role, collecting 25 saves, and he made headlines in late July when he briefly played third base, then moved back to the mound and got the save.

Romo’s numbers from 2018 (4.14 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 75 strikeouts and 20 walks in 67.1 innings) don’t exactly look spectacular, but he was dominant for stretches of the 2018 campaign, while struggling signifcantly during other stretches. After allowing a 5.59 ERA and .912 OPS through the end of April and a 6.94 ERA and .781 OPS in May, he was spectacular during the mid-summer months, posting a 1.38 ERA with a .403 opponent OPS in June, a 1.38 ERA with a .650 OPS against in July, and a 1.64 ERA with a .488 opponent OPS in August. He struggled mightily again in September, though, surrendering a 10.00 ERA and 1.079 OPS in the season’s final month.

With the Marlins having torn apart their bullpen this offseason, trading away key contributors Kyle Barraclough and Nick Wittgren, Romo should have a solid chance to claim a late-inning role. Though guys like Adam Conley and Tayron Guerrero provide intrigue, Drew Steckenrider (3.90 ERA and 1.27 WHIP over 71 appearances in 2018) is seemingly the only other Marlins reliever who rivals Romo as a potential closer or setup option.

For more on Romo’s journey through the free-agent process, check out our own Andersen Pickard’s recent interview with the reliever’s agent, Barry Meister.