Ricky Romero’s 2012 season was an unmitigated disaster, as he put up a 5.77 ERA and 1.67 WHIP to go along with an American League-leading 105 walks. Yet, the Blue Jays said prior to spring training that he would break camp as part of their rotation, confident that the left-hander would figure things out during Grapefruit League play.
It hasn’t happened.
Romero posted a 6.23 ERA and 2.08 WHIP with 10 walks over 13 spring innings, and the Jays have reversed course and decided to send the southpaw to the minors to begin the season.
"We have a plan for him,” general manager Alex Anthopoulos told Gregor Chisolm of MLB.com. “We know what we need to address, it's just not coming as fast as we wanted it to come."
How much time Romero spends in the minors is totally up in the air. It just depends on how long it takes him to figure things out, if he does at all. He can be avoided for fantasy purposes even as a hopeful roster stash.
Anthopoulos insisted that J.A. Happ’s spring performance had nothing to do with the decision on Romero, but it certainly had to have made the situation a bit easier. Happ has held a 1.89 ERA and 14/3 K/BB ratio over 19 innings during Grapefruit League play. While he has a 5.08 ERA and 4.2 BB/9 rate over the last two seasons, he also boasts an 8.3 K/9 mark, which should be useful in AL-only formats.
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Puig Sent Packing
Yasiel Puig was the talk of the Cactus League this spring, batting .526 with three homers, 11 RBI and four steals and impressing so much that a week ago general manager Ned Colletti refused to rule out the possibility that the 22-year-old could make the Opening Day roster.
The reality, though, is that Puig has 23 games of professional experience, none of them coming above A-ball, so it was a longshot, at best, that he’d crack the 25-man roster. On Tuesday, he was officially sent down to Double-A Chattanooga.
Despite the demotion, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly didn’t hide his praise for the Cuban defector, noting that he’s “probably knocking on the door” of a promotion to the big leagues.
"He came into camp and the guy wasn't even on the radar,” Mattingly said on MLB.com. “We really didn't know what to expect. He put himself on the map, probably knocking on the door instead of a couple years away. We knew he was tooled up. We found out he was really smart, he learns quick. He needs a little work in certain areas, the details of the game. I look at Yasiel as a Ferrari -- got the motor, the body, the wheels. Just hasn't been painted yet and you don't want to leave it in the sun. We want a guy as ready as possible when he walks in the door at Dodger Stadium so he never has to go down again."
With Carl Crawford, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier manning their three outfield positions, the Dodgers don’t really have room for Puig at the moment. He obviously made a big statement this spring, though, and will be under consideration for a call-up should one of the aforementioned trio go down with an injury. Puig is obviously a must-own in keeper and dynasty formats.
The Dodgers also optioned Dee Gordon to Triple-A Albuquerque Tuesday. Gordon had been an option to fill in for the injured Hanley Ramirez at shortstop, but, as expected, the club will instead go with Luis Cruz at short and a combination of Juan Uribe, Jerry Hairston Jr. and Nick Punto at the hot corner.
Forsythe Aggravates Foot Injury, DL Likely
Logan Forsythe played in a Cactus League game Tuesday for the first time in nearly three weeks. Unfortunately, it looks like it will be the last game he plays for a while.
The plantar fasciitis in Forsythe’s right foot flared up after two at-bats, meaning a stint on the disabled list to start the season is a virtual certainty.
"It was really painful at the start of the game and with the intensity of the soreness, we had to take him out," Padres manager Bud Black said on MLB.com. "The pain got worse the more he was on it."
Forsythe had been slated to serve as the Padres’ Opening Day third baseman with Chase Headley (thumb) expected to miss the first month of the season. Now, the Pads will likely move Jedd Gyorko, who had beaten out Forsythe for the second base job, to the hot corner while Alexi Amarista handles second. It’s not an ideal situation for Gyorko owners in leagues where the youngster doesn’t have second base eligibility, as it will now likely take him at least a couple weeks to be eligible at the keystone.
Haren Serves Up Four Homers
Dan Haren was one of the biggest disappointments in fantasy leagues last year, posting a 4.33 ERA that was nearly a full run higher than what he put up over his previous seven seasons. He also dealt with back issues, saw his velocity tumble to an all-time low and his strikeout rate continue to drop.
Despite this, many viewed him as a bounce-back candidate in 2013 as he moved back to the National League and joined a Nationals team that should provide him with plenty of run support and good work from the bullpen. However, if his performance in spring training is any indication, a rebound year doesn’t appear to be in the offing.
Haren was tagged for four home runs and five runs Tuesday against the Marlins and has now served up seven longballs over 25 1/3 innings this spring. He holds a 6.39 ERA in his six Grapefruit League outings and the lack of velocity last season has carried over into spring ball.
Despite the poor results, Haren told MLB.com that he’s “ready” and “confident” heading into the season. While it’s good that his back doesn’t currently seem to be giving him issues, it’s hard for fantasy owners to be as confident in the right-hander as he seems to be in himself. We might see more of the disappointing 2012 version of Haren in 2013 rather than the rock-solid one from 2005-2011.
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