As you have already heard, the Blue Jays have optioned last year's opening day starter and incumbent "ace," Ricky Romero, to Single-A Dunedin to work on his command and delivery through some mechanical adjustments. Some felt this could be the case, and it makes all the sense in the world.
Maybe not to Ricky.
Many people believe that sending him directly to Single-A is the ultimate disrespect for a player who has given his all for the organization. However, sending him to Single-A lets him remain in Dunedin (where the Blue Jays play their spring training games), and allows him to maintain his current path of returning to his 2011 form.
Many people, including those who write articles on TSN.ca and the Globe and Mail, believe that Romero's start on March 26th was a make or break start, and he had a "decent outing" while picking up the win.
I completely disagree and it seems GM Alex Anthopoulos did too. Let us look at his last start with more specifics.
Romero gave up six hits and three walks in just over four innings of work, which leads to a WHIP over 2.00. Moreover, he only struck out two. Sure he only gave up two earned runs, but he was lucky to get out of the jams that he did.
Let us do this inning by inning:
Gave up a leadoff single followed by a steal. The Pirates then manufactured a run. With two-outs, Alvarez singles and then Rajai Davis makes an outstanding leaping catch against the wall in left, robbing McKenry of extra bases. If Davis does not make that sensational catch, another run plates and another runner is in scoring position. Regardless, they hit the ball hard in the first.
Romero gives up a leadoff double followed by a walk. The next batter hit the ball hard, but directly at the centerfielder Bonifacio. The opposing pitcher then sacrifices, and Ricky finishes the inning with a strikeout, leaving runners on second and third. It could have been much worse with two runners on and none out.
Romero walks the first two batters followed by a strikeout of Pedro Alvarez (pretty sure I could strike him out). A single follows, scoring a run, and then a lucky line out, unassisted double play to Lind ends the inning. Again, had that liner snuck by Lind it would be another run, possibly two, with one or two runners in scoring position.
Ricky gets the first two outs but then gives up a double to the opposing pitcher who comes around to score.
Ricky gives up a single (although the runner tried to turn it into a double and failed) before leaving the game.
So people believe that it was a decent outing because he only gave up two runs and got the win? I beg to differ. Every inning was a battle and the damage could have been much worse to what was seen on the box score.
When Anthopoulos addressed the media in regards to Romero's demotion he mentioned that "it just isn't coming as fast as we want it to come." Anthopoulos understands the pitcher that Romero can be and mentioned that "he just needs more time." I think it is very positive that Romero understands the process and is on board.
As mentioned, the Blue Jays organization believe that Ricky can become much more of an asset than what he is currently showing. Why have him flounder along and possibly lead to some losses, when he can possibly come back (Anthopoulos mentioned that he could find it in one, two or three starts down at Single-A) and become the dynamic pitcher he has shown to be in the past?
It is pretty evident that at this point, he gives the Blue Jays nothing more than what Happ can bring to the rotation (if not less). So take him out of the spotlight, try and get him back to where he was, then he will come back and bring something to the team. Those "three" starts of his could cost the Jays a playoff berth, as it always comes down to a couple games in September.
At the end of the day, the Jays are committed to Romero and want to do everything to help him get back to his 2011 form. As Anthopoulos said "It is all about Ricky."
Let us hope that it comes as fast as we all want it to come.
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