The Minnesota Twins made a move to bolster their bullpen on Saturday night with a trade to acquire Sergio Romo. The Twins sent 22-year-old first baseman minor-leaguer Lewin Diaz to the Miami Marlins in exchange for Romo, minor-league reliever Chris Vallimont and a player to be named later.
Minnesota is 63-41 on the season and is currently just one game ahead of the Cleveland Indians for the top spot in the American League Central. The Twins are hoping that Romo can help the team in its quest to bring a World Series Championship back to Minnesota for the first time since 1991.
Romo brings World Series experience to the clubhouse
Sergio Romo has spent the 2019 season serving as the closer for the Miami Marlins. While he hasn’t had too many save opportunities for the hapless Marlins (who are 39-63 this season), Romo has been sharp with the lead when called upon with 17 saves in 18 save attempts.
The 36-year-old bullpen veteran owns a respectable 3.58 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP this season with 33 strikeouts in 37.2 innings pitched. Romo has compiled a 2.91 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP in 681 innings pitched over the course of his 12-year career.
Romo brings important postseason experience to the table as well. He won three World Series Championships with the San Francisco Giants and is 3-1 with four saves, a 3.09 ERA, and a 0.90 WHIP in 23.1 innings pitched in the playoffs.
The Twins address their biggest weakness
The Minnesota Twins have one of the best offenses in baseball in 2019. They rank third in the majors in runs with 592 through 103 games and tops in the majors in home runs with 201. The Twins are currently on pace to hit 316 home runs this season, a number that would shatter the home run record of 267 that the New York Yankees hit last year.
The team’s starting pitching has been a strength too, combining for an ERA of 3.88 that ranks sixth best among starting staffs around the league and third best behind only Tampa Bay and Houston in the American League.
Minnesota’s bullpen ranks 14th in the league with an ERA of 4.41. The late-game combo of Ryne Harper (3.07 ERA, 1.07 WHIP) in the eighth inning and Taylor Rogers (2.27 ERA, 1.05 WHIP) in the ninth has been effective for the Twins of late, but bridging the gap between the starting staff and the eighth inning has been an adventure. An experienced reliever like Romo in the seventh or eighth inning will help set the table for Rogers to close out the game in the ninth.
A great trade on a budget
Romo was signed to a one-year, $2.5 million contract by the Marlins this offseason. He made for a perfect short-term rental option for a team on a budget like Minnesota; the Twins will only have to pay him $873,665 for his services for the rest of this season.
This is a great trade for the Twins, who not only get an experienced reliever at a low price for the stretch run, but also added a relief pitching prospect in 22-year-old Chris Vallimont. Vallimont has a 3.16 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP this season in 105.1 innings of single-A ball.
Adding Sergio Romo isn’t a game-changing splash; Minnesota will still be a long shot to make a deep postseason run in the extremely talented American League. But for a team that wasn’t even projected to make the playoffs this season, it’s a move that at least gives the current roster a better chance to succeed than it had a day ago.