The Cincinnati Reds have officially signed right-handed reliever Pedro Strop to a 1-year deal worth $1,825,000. When it was first reported a few days ago there were several reported performance bonuses involved with his contract that could nearly double the value of his contract. After arriving in town and passing his physical, the Reds and Strop both put ink to paper and made the contract official. In order to create a spot for Strop on the 40-man roster the team designated right-handed pitcher Sal Romano for assignment.

The Reds originally selected Sal Romano in the 23rd round of the 2011 draft. Don’t let the draft round fool you, though – he got a signing bonus in line with a 2nd or 3rd round pick. He worked his way through the Cincinnati farm system as a starting pitcher before making his Major League debut in 2017. He made 16 starts for the Reds that season, posting a 4.45 ERA (101 ERA+) in 87.0 innings. In 2018 he would start 25 games for the Reds, and then pitch out of the bullpen for another 14 games. His ERA jumped up to 5.31 that season as he threw 145.2 innings.

Last year saw Romano spend most of his time in Triple-A where he pitched mostly out of the bullpen. He made five starts and 38 relief appearances where he posted a 4.28 ERA with 76 strikeouts in 69.1 innings. In Cincinnati he would make another 12 appearances out of the bullpen, posting a 7.71 ERA in 16.1 innings with 16 more strikeouts.

The now 26-year-old is out of options. That may have played a role in why he was the choice to be designated for assignment. The Reds have a lot of competition for relatively few spots in the bullpen, and several options along with Romano had to stick to the 26-man roster or be placed on waivers.

It feels safe to me that Sal Romano will be claimed on waivers. He’s a guy who could probably fight for a starters role on a team that needs starting pitching. In the bullpen you’re looking at a guy who averaged 96.5 MPH last season who has touched 99. He’s got the kind of arm teams are likely going to give a shot to.

23 Responses

  1. FreeHouse

    It had to be done. Big Sally didn’t take advantage of his opportunities. Still a good talent I’m sure someone else will claim him.

  2. Stock

    I am not so sure he will be picked up and if he is he will not be missed. He has zero chance of going north with the club unless 6-8 pitchers start the year on the DL. He has proven he is not good enough to start in the ML.

    Here are some stats the make me feel he will never be a good RP.

    2019 ERA from the bullpen in 2019: 5.33
    2019 ERA from the bullpen with the Reds: 7.71
    2017 – 2018 ERA in first inning with the Reds: 7.02

    I am not sure why he struggles in the first inning of games he starts or as a RP but facts say he does. He is not a ML RP. Therefore, he has no value.

    Good call by the Reds

  3. CFD3000

    I am a little surprised by this move, but in a positive way. I didn’t think the Reds would recognize that Big Sal was so far down their depth chart and cut him loose, but he was only a distraction. The Reds have much better options for spot or injury replacement starters (Sims and Mahle), and better options for right handed long relief, and Romano was just going to be a distraction in evaluating all the options for the 2020 bullpen. Raw size and arm strength have a certain appeal, and his major league experience might suggest he should get consideration for more mound time, but I for one am glad this is the choice the Reds made.

    • JayTheRed

      I’m not surprised at all. The guy has not been consistent except for maybe in the minors. He was given a pretty big opportunity to perform and his results were basically blah.

      Another example that this front office will do what need to get done when hard decisions need to be made.

  4. CI3J

    Big Sal was one of those guys that kind of burst on the scene and was pretty exciting at the beginning, but his development seemed to really stall. For lack of a better way to put it, he’s just too messy when he pitches, too many balls, too many strikes fouled off, too many runners on base. He’s still 26 years old and could probably develop into a pretty decent back of the rotation option somewhere, but he just has no space in the Reds’ current plans.

    What I AM curious about is how Scott Schebler has avoided getting the chop over Big Sal and Jose Siri.

    • JayTheRed

      Jose Siri is already gone. He’s with the Mariners
      I honestly feel like Schebler is on the way out too. He might get traded to a team not in contention.

      • MK

        Read closely Siri’s being DFAed is what C13J said

  5. B-town fan

    Maybe the Reds feel Scott Scheblers problems at the plate have mostly to do with his injury’s, he did show a lot of promise with his 30 hr season, but I still don’t see how he makes this team.

    • Doc

      And that was not in the juices ball season

      • B-town fan

        From what I’ve be able to find, I think he is out of options, his last option was used in 2019, I think. So he will have to stick with the team, unless I guess he is put on the injured list to start the season, they could delay the decision.

      • B-town fan

        I found on Spotrac that it says he has one more option year of 2020. It lists other players as well. So I was wrong. Aquino has 1 Mahle has 2 Blandino has 2 VanMeter has 2 to name a few, Farmer even has 1 left even Castellanos has 3 not that they will ever be used on him. So with Schebler it just comes down to 40 man space.

    • RojoBenjy

      I see Schebler as a Ryan Ludwick.

      Had a great run for half of one season, and therefore folks put a lot of hope in his future.

      Someone said above that Sal was a distraction from evaluating pitching talent. I think the same is true about Schebler with regard to outfielders that have a chance to contribute to the future of this club.

      Now when he comes out of the gate on fire and carries the team for April and May, Doug can dredge up this post and I’ll eat crow.

      Until then…

    • greenmtred

      I’ve thought that it was probably the injuries, too. Schebler has shown flashes of–not brilliance–but usefulness, and, while the Reds have lots of outfielders, they have little certainty about most of them. And most of them have never hit 30 homers in a major league season. I wouldn’t be greatly surprised if he ends up starting a bunch of games this season.

  6. TBD

    Doug
    I watched that little video about the Mookie Betts trade. Wow, that was sure a lot of moving parts for the Dodgers to get that trade done.

    • RojoBenjy

      They must have had a working fax machine!

  7. Charles Lackey

    Romano did get his chances but still it is sad to see him struggle. Perhaps he can get on another team and work his problems out. Right now the Reds look like they have competition in all areas.

    • RojoBenjy

      If DJ couldn’t get him straightened out, I guess it was time.

      Nice kid, hope he rallies.

      • MK

        Can’t imagine D.J. had that much imput with one ib Louisville, one in Cincinnati.

      • RojoBenjy

        MK- too bad. Think he could have helped Sal?

  8. Redsvol

    This was the right move. Sal had plenty of chances. At some point, those chances need to go to someone who hasn’t had one.

  9. TR

    I always had high hopes for Romano. He wasn’t able to get it done. I hope he gets a chance elsewhere.