Monday, February 18, 2019

Contemplating Fernando Romero

Fernando Romero
made 11 starts for
the major league
team in 2018. 
The Twins made it known during the weekend that henceforth Fernando Romero is a relief pitcher.

While this may be disappointing to those who hoped to see him emerge as a top-of-the-rotation starter, it seemed inevitable. Romero, 24, has never shown much durablity, either within games as a starter or over the course of the long season.

My expectation is that he will open 2019 in a minor league bullpen -- probably Triple A Rochester, perhaps Double A Pensacola if the Twins want to give him warmer weather to settle into the new role. But he will see the inside of the Target Field bullpen this year. No matter who makes the opening roster in the Twins 'pen, there will be relievers shuttling back and forth between Minneapolis, Rochester and probably Pensacola.

And if things go swimmingly, once Romero turns up in Target Field, he'll power his way into a late-inning role and stick. LaVelle Neal of the Strib suggested on Twitter that Romero might be the closer by season's end. I'm not eager to see that happen -- that would probably mean that Trevor May failed -- but that it's a realistic outcome indicates that even as a reliever, Romero is seen as a crucial piece of the Twins puzzle.

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