When the Cincinnati Reds officially signed right-handed reliever Pedro Strop it meant that they needed a 40-man roster spot. That led to the organization designating right-handed pitcher Sal Romano for assignment. Time passed and no one put in a claim on him, in a complete shocker to this particular writer, and the Reds outrighted Romano to Triple-A Louisville. The team also extended him an invitation as a non-roster player to big league spring training.

After a solid rookie season back in 2017 where he posted a 4.45 ERA in 16 starts for the Cincinnati Reds, Sal Romano has struggled a bit in each of the last two seasons in the Majors. He struggled as a starter in 2018, posting a 5.48 ERA in 25 starts. He did find some success in the bullpen later in the year, posting a 3.77 ERA as a reliever in 14 games.

In 2019 the Reds had Romano in the bullpen full time. His season began in Triple-A Louisville, and it’s where most of the time on the mound came before September. He made three big league appearances prior to then. In Triple-A his ERA was 4.28 (The league average ERA was 4.90) in 43 games that stretched 69.1 innings where he racked up 76 strikeouts and just 26 walks.

In the Major Leagues during the 2019 season his ERA was 7.71 in 16.1 innings. It really was one outing, though, that killed his ERA. On August 14th he allowed eight earned runs in just 0.2 innings. Outside of that outing he posted a 3.45 ERA in 15.2 innings with six walks and 15 strikeouts. Obviously, you can’t pretend that game didn’t happen, but that one game makes his season look so much worse than it was outside of it.

For the Reds, it allows them to keep even more depth in the organization. Romano’s touched 99 MPH with his fastball, and average over 96 with it last season. And he has generally thrown strikes in his career, too. There’s stuff to work with for the right-hander, it’s going to be about figuring out how to make it all work together.

24 Responses

  1. Linkster

    This is really good news. I’m glad to see Big Sal still in the Reds organization.

  2. sixpack

    Me thinks some Teams made a mistake. Time will tell, but we get another year to check.

  3. Jer-B

    There’s a lot better chance of him contributing at the big league level than Siri. Glad he snuck through.

  4. JB WV

    Glad no one claimed him. Needs one more pitch in his arsenal.

  5. AirborneJayJay

    Good news for both the Reds and Big Sal. Maybe this puts a chip on his shoulder for the season. He’ll be needed to help the bullpen at some point. Just needs to work on his location, location, location. Fewer fastballs up and out over the plate.

    • MK

      Sal has been a family friend since he played in Dayton. Haven’t communicated with him since he was DFAed but not sure it is such great news for Sal. He probably would have preferred to be picked up by someone so he would be on their 40-man, especially since he is out of options. I know he was a big Mets fan as a kid so I was kind of hoping if he was picked up it would be by them.

      • TBD

        MK
        I was thinking what your saying in that he would have probably preferred to have been picked up by another club so he could crack into the big league team this year.
        So, great news for the Reds. I sure hope that he’s able to put together a successful year and see him in a Reds uni in 2021.

  6. Tom Mitsoff

    Good news. He has another year at Louisville to perhaps put it all together, and then be available when perhaps two Reds starters become free agents after this season.

    • Stock

      I don’t see him ever starting for the Reds again. I think the Reds put him back in the bullpen again this year and hope he figures out how to step in and get hitter out right away.

      My ranking for the two vacancies in the 2021 (DeSclafani and Bauer):

      1. DeSclafani (I think the Reds resign him).
      2. Mahle
      3. DeLeon
      4. Stephenson
      5. Sims
      6. FA
      7. Lodolo

      • MK

        So where is Sonny, he will still be under contract. I would bet unless he falls on his face, Bauer will resign since his Driveline guys are now so influential in the organization.

      • Stock

        I hope Bauer does resign but think he wants out of Cincinnati. Maybe the moves the Reds have made since October have changed his opinion though.

        I think Gray will be good in 2020. Not as good as 2019 but good nonetheless.

      • Reaganspad

        I agree MK about Bauer

        I think Strock was referring to only the guys who would replace the opening rotation spots. So Gray, Luis and Miley are not listed.

      • DocRed

        Agreed, Romano starting for us next year would be a big step in the WRONG direction.

      • MBS

        1 Disco
        2 Lodolo
        3 Mahle
        4 Naughton
        5 Santillian
        6 FA
        I’m assuming both Stephenson and Sims have found a role in the Pen, but we’ll know better after 2020, also Santillian I think is probably destined for the back of the bullpen, but you never know

  7. DaveCT

    Great news for Big Sal and this fan from near his town in CT.

    The guy’s body is just so huge, so I can imagine the challenges getting all the arms and legs and hips, etc moving together. His breakout in AA a few years back was impressive. I still think he’s got some very acceptable ML time ahead of him.

    Side note: If and when he leaves the Reds, I’d advocate that he needs to play in Philly if not the Bronx at some point. It’s just meant to be.

    • Earmbrister

      I’m not far from Southington myself. I hope Big Sal figures it out this year. This age 26 season is an important one for him.

  8. David

    He is not a bullpen pitcher. The Reds moving him there in AAA was a mistake. His control and such needs a lot of innings to get sharper, and he needed to work as a starter last year. I think at the end of AAA season, he was starting again.

    The guy is a horse, and just needs to get better command of the strike zone. All his stuff (fastball and slider) has a nasty downward tilt.

    • MK

      If I remember most of the prospect experts had him pegged as a major league reliever as he was coming up.

  9. Hotto4Votto

    Glad to hear he’s sticking around in the organization. He does have some stuff to work with if he’d develop a consistent offspeed pitch.

  10. burtgummer

    Not too surprising he’s minor league filler at best

  11. CI3J

    Wow, really surprising no one claimed him. But good news for the Reds, I think Big Sal has the talent to be a useful piece at some point in the future. He’s 26, so he’s still a few years away from his prime, but I’d rather the Reds kept him and kept trying to unlock his full potential. Now it looks like they will get their chance!

  12. GhostRunner

    I’m pulling for Cody Reed to have a good spring training. Need another LHRP on the team.