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Where Have You Gone Ricky Romero?

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Where Have You Gone Ricky Romero?

Posted on 27 March 2013 by Trish Vignola

Where have you gone, Ricky Romero? The Toronto Blue Jays optioned left-hander Ricky Romero to Class A Dunedin yesterday evening. Class A, folks. That’s the Florida league for those of you keeping score.

RickyRomero

Could anyone have predicted this two seasons ago?

One season ago?

Romero went from being the club’s Opening Day starter in 2012 to not making 25-man roster in 2013. The Blue Jays opened camp by saying Romero was essentially guaranteed a spot in the rotation. He no longer had the weight of being an ace on his shoulder. He was pressure-free and was set to thrive.

That message began to change…quickly.

“We saw a lot of good things and he was fine, but it’s not the Ricky we know he can be,” General Manager Alex Anthopoulos said to MLB.com. “We can try to just keep going, and when you’re at the big league level, it’s hard to continue working on things, or take a little more time, get him back to where he can be.” Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com and of the blog, “North of the Boarder”, reported that Romero was unavailable for comment. “It’s always a tough conversation, but he knows he’s not exactly as sharp as he needs to be, and he knows it’s going to take a little bit more time,” Anthopoulous continued.

How did Toronto’s most valuable pitchers since 2009 collapse so quickly? He had become the Blue Jays’ No. 1 starter. Following the departure of Shaun Marcum, Romero had a 15-11 record and a 2.92 ERA and he was an All-Star.

Yes, things started to unravel a bit in 2012. Romero began the year with an 8-1 record, but he had a 4.34 ERA and 46 walks in 95 1/3 innings. That wouldn’t instill confidence in the best of General Managers. Chisholm reports Romero battled control issues along with “a seeming lack of confidence on the mound.” He also was also dealing with documented tendinitis in both of his knees. Romero went 1-13 the rest of the way with a 7.35 ERA.

Nonetheless, it wasn’t until apparently this spring that the club finally noticed “a flaw” in Romero’s pitching. He was no longer maintaining a straight line to the plate, as reported by Chisholm. Romero had a 6.23 ERA this spring.

“You talk about direction and lines to the plate, it’s basically your balance going to home plate and where your front foot lands. It sounds easy, but it just takes time when you start repeating it,” said Anthopoulos to MLB.com “He has done this before, he just has a tendency to do it. It’s one thing if you’re just not getting results and you just have to continue to pitch and get out of it. We have a plan for him. We know what we need to address. It’s just not coming as fast as we wanted it to come,” Anthopoulos continued.

The Blue Jays knew what was going on last year. They just finally have the pitching staff to make up the difference by cutting Romero.

This is not a death sentence to Romero though. The club took the same approach with Roy Halladay back in 2001. Halladay went on to establish himself as one of the best pitchers in the game. Chisholm reports that Halladay had “a complete overhaul of his mechanics”, whereas Anthopoulos and the Blue Jays have continually described Romero’s changes as “minor.”

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DOs And DONTs: Milwaukee Brewers

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DOs And DONTs: Milwaukee Brewers

Posted on 14 February 2012 by Mark Sherrard

With Prince Fielder signing with Detroit and Ryan Braun facing a possible 50 game suspension for allegedly using PED’s, the Brewers offseason has not gone so well. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t players with fantasy value on their roster.

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Here’s a look at the DO’s and DON’Ts with regards to the Milwaukee Brewers.

DO keep an eye on the Ryan Braun situation. A resolution is expected before Spring Training. If his appeal is upheld, he could be a top 5 pick in any league. If his suspension is upheld, he could fall to the 3rd round.

DON’T overlook Norichika Aoki, especially if Braun suspension is upheld. While Aoki is likely a 4th outfielder for the Brewers, he could see some time at the beginning of the year if Braun is suspended.

I DO like the Brewers starting pitching. With Zack Greinke, Yovani Gallardo and Shaun Marcum, the Brewers have a top 3 about as good as any in the NL, with the exception of the Phillies. Each of them is capable of posting an ERA under 3.50 and 15 wins.

DON’T forget about Corey Hart. After hitting at the top of the order last year, he could be asked to move down to the heart of the order this year, to help offset the loss of Fielder (and possibly Braun). Look for him to increase his RBI total of 63 from 2011 to possibly 90-100 in 2012.

DO take a chance on Mat Gamel in the late rounds. The kid can hit and is the front runner to take over first base for the departed Prince.

DON’T overlook Aramis Ramirez. Signed by the Brewers to help offset the loss of Fielder, Ramirez had a strong 2011 season and should fit nicely into the Brewers lineup and provide good protection for Braun. Third base has become a surprisingly weak position in fantasy baseball and Ramirez is still one of the best.

DO draft Jonathan Lucroy. He proved to be a decent hitter last year, at least as far as catchers go, hitting .265/.313/.391 as well as 12 homeruns. He is not amongst the upper echelon of catchers, but is certainly one who will not hurt you.

DON’T draft Carlos Gomez. Other than speed, he has little else going for him. He hit only .225/.276/.403 last year and will likely split time with Nyjer Morgan in center.

DO draft John Axford. Even with Francisco Rodriguez lurking in the setup role, John Axford is solidly locked into the closer role. He saved 46 games and had only 2 blown saves in 2011, while posting a 1.95 ERA.

DON’T go to sleep on Chris Narveson. He has a career K/9 of 7.5 and BB/9 of 3.3 in 385.2 IP. He always seems to be on the cusp of putting together a breakout season and could perhaps finally put in all together in 2012. But, at the same time…

DO keep an eye on Marco Estrada this spring. He struck out 88 while walking only 29 last year in 92.2 IP and could battle Narveson for the 5th spot in the rotation.

Finally, DON’T forget about Rickie Weeks. Despite his injury history, he is still one of the best second basemen in the majors. Last year he hit .269/.350/.468 with 20 homeruns in just 118 games, pretty much in line with his career year in 2010, in which he played 160 games and hit 29 homeruns. He no longer steals very many bases (just 9 in 2011), but there aren’t very many second baseman with his power.

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