6’5” pitchers who can run their fastballs up to 98 mph don’t exactly grow on trees, so there was certainly a school of thought that was pretty well convinced Sal Romano was going to be claimed on waivers after being designated for assignment by the Cincinnati Reds. Fortunately for the Reds, though, Romano cleared waivers, and the team announced today he’d been outrighted to AAA Louisville to wrap the transaction.
#Reds RHP Sal Romano cleared waivers, was outrighted to Triple-A Louisville and was invited to Major League spring training camp.— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) February 11, 2020
He was designated for assignment on Wednesday to make room on the 40-man roster for RHP Pedro Strop. pic.twitter.com/uqktuFvWtx
I think anyone in the front office would admit that the Reds absolutely wanted Sal around for the 2020 season, and that his DFA was due largely to one administrative note - he was out of options. Unable to simply stash Sal in AAA and in need of a 40-man roster spot following the signing of Pedro Strop, it was Sal who got cut, but this ensures that the Reds will again have him as depth either as a starter or as a reliever.
Primarily a starter for his career, Romano was a reasonable bright spot during his 2017 rookie campaign, firing 87 IP of 4.45 ERA, 4.24 FIP ball as a 23 year old. Unfortunately, that’s been the brightest he’s been in his career, as he’s the owner of an ugly 5.56 ERA in 162 IP since then, with his production at the AAA level not significantly more inspiring.
What he does bring to the table, though, is that power fastball and, at times, a slider to complement it, and he’s even (at times, again) shown a good ability to generate ground balls. It was that two-pitch mix he leaned on almost exclusively during his 2019 cameo as a reliever with the Reds, and it will be interesting to see whether the Reds choose to use him as starting depth to begin 2020 or focus solely on seeing if he can excel in a relief role full time.
Either way, Sal’s still a Red, and that’s a good thing.