Texas Rangers Regret #2: Jordan Romano
Many fans may not remember that prior to becoming the closer for the Blue Jays Romano was in spring training with the Rangers back in 2019. He took a circuitous route to get to Texas. He was drafted by the Blue Jays in 2014 in the 10th round out of Oral Roberts. Then in 2018 he was not protected and was left exposed to the Rule 5 draft. He was picked by the White Sox who then sold his rights to the Rangers. Romano then went through the winter with the Rangers and entered spring training as a candidate to be in the bullpen.
The 2018-2019 offseason was a season of change for the Rangers. They had just hired Los Angeles Dodgers 3rd base coach Chris Woodward to be their manager. Adrian Beltre had just retired after the 2018 season. Texas also signed Lance Lynn to a three year contract. The organization was getting ready to say goodbye as 2019 was the last season they would play in the old Ballpark in Arlington.
That takes us to spring training. Jordan Romano is one of many arms that Texas brought in to try and make the team. He was in competition with such players as Kyle Bird, Zach McCalister, Connor Sadczek, and Adrian Sampson. Romano was a Rule 5 draft pick and for the Rangers to hold onto him he had to be kept on the major league roster for the entire season. That surely played into the decision. He did have a great camp. He made seven appearances out of the bullpen, he gave up four runs total all against the San Diego Padres in early April. He ended up with six strikeouts and six walks.
So on March 24th he was put through waivers and then given back to Toronto. It was franchise changing transaction for the Blue Jays. Romano made his debut in 2019 and really struggled to a 7+ ERA in his first season. In 2020 he stabilized himself and became the primary setup man. He improved in 2020 from a 7 ERA to a 1.23 ERA in the shortened season. Then in 2021 he took over the closers role in May. He picked up his first save on May 11th and has not given up that job. He had 23 saves in 2021 and then topped that in 2022 with a 36 save season. He also made his first all-star team in 2022 as well. He has continued that in 2023 as he already has 10 saves. He has helped guide Toronto to two playoff appearances in his four seasons.
As the Rangers search about for players who can pitch in the late innings think of Matt Moore and Jordan Romano who the Rangers regrettably let go. The players Romano was competing with in camp in 2019 did not have long stints with the Rangers. Romano continues to close out games for the Blue Jays. These were moves that were regrettable for Texas and beneficial for the Angels and Blue Jays.