What to do with Ricky Romero? That is a question on everyone’s mind once again and everyone seems to have an opinion!! I wish we could put this issue under the rug, but alas it seems Ricky’s not done with his control problems this spring.
I stated last September that I thought that it was up to Ricky to sort out his troubles himself. The team wasn’t going anywhere, the Jays had few bodies to call up to replace Ricky, and quite frankly I feel Romero had to learn to cope with his struggles.
It’s been well documented that Romero scuttled a few years in the minors which made everyone clamour “this top draft pick has left us with egg on our face”, and it’s true. He went through very poor years but then he turned the proverbial corner and propelled himself to the major leagues where he had THREE very good years at the front of the Blue Jays staff where he improved in each of these categories: ERA, WHIP, H/9, BB/9 and SO/BB ratio. So this is a guy who knows how to pitch.
Let’s keep in mind it is spring training where pitchers are trying new things, focusing in on certain pitches, and just getting their arm speed back to where it needs to be. In no way should anyone be judging one’s performance too heavily in Grapefruit League games.
Now Dirk Hayhurst makes a strong and convincing case for Romero to start the year in the minors because he believes “Ricky is never going to be the same after last season and may need more than just this spring to figure out how to get back to that high ceiling of his.” Dirk adds, “He’ll need some time to rediscover who he is when he takes the mound.”
My side of the argument is that Jays management has to demonstrate some faith in Ricky which they’re doing this spring by stating that Romero will be in the starting 5 with Happ starting in Buffalo. If Gibbons and Anthopoulos sent Romero down due to spring performance, what kind of message will that be sending? Zero confidence. Zero.
Conversely, the tough love approach says send him down, let him deal with it – too bad for you, Ricky. Come back when you’re ready to help the club. I don’t think that will be constructive either. Confidence and positivity are huge in this game, and that’s what it appears Romero is learning.
Bruce Arthur makes a compelling case for Romero that he can indeed sort things out himself. Ricky concurs that it’s just confidence he’s lacking and so far this spring, he’s maintained that he has a lot of it. Arthur cites that Rickey has been talking more openly to his team-mates and coaches on staying positive and not focusing on all the failure in this game because indeed there’s a ton of it.
So that leaves me with some hope. And who’s to say that Romero won’t rebound in 2013 – he shouldn’t be facing the same pressure he did last year when he put the weight of leading the staff on his shoulders. He’s got guys like Dickey, Johnson and perhaps more importantly a fellow lefty like Mark Buehrle with him this year to help ease the burden.
Come on Ricky, we’re rooting for you!
Image via CP Frank Gunn