Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Sergio Romo and the 2020 bullpen

The Twins are bringing veteran reliever Sergio Romo back for 2020. This is a keep-the-band-together move (as was the earlier retentions of starters Jake Odorizzi and Michael Pineda) and not, strictly speaking, an upgrade.

Bullpens are always a work in progress. I've written that sentence, or variations of it, repeatedly over the years. The 2019 Twins bullpen was much different at the end of the season than at its beginning. And Romo, a well-traveled veteran, was part of that restructuring -- and a unique piece of it.

The bulleon early last season featured a number of pitchers discarded by other big league teams. Matt Magill and Mike Morin were signed as minor league free agents. Blake Parker was simply released by the Angels, a team with chronic bullpen problems, despite a couple of quality years for the Halos. Parker had the most significant role of the three, but all three were gone by the end of July.

The Twins traded at the deadline for Romo and Sam Dyson. Dyson, injured and ineffective, didn't pitch much the last two months, but Romo was prominent in Rocco Baldelli's usage patterns.

Pretty much everybody else in the late-season bullpen -- most prominently Taylor Rogers, Trevor May, Tyler Duffey and Zach Littell -- are 20-somethings who have pitched in the majors only for Minnesota. Romo was the exception.

Rogers, Romo, Duffey, May, Littell -- those five figure to be the key figures in the Twins bullpen in the coming season. I wouldn't mind seeing them add a second lefty to that mix, but it's a quality group -- and maybe one that won't need a midseason remake.

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