Is Romo going to find a new home soon?
Don’t look now, but pitchers and catchers start reporting to camp in less than three weeks. One pitcher in particular who still doesn’t have a team to report to is Sergio Romo. Although Romo finished the season as San Francisco’s closer, he didn’t play nearly as prominent a role in their bullpen as he did over the past nine seasons, which is why he eventually found himself on the free agent market instead of returning to San Francisco.
Now, it appears that the soon-to-be 34-year-old reliever is finally starting to attract some interest. Ken Rosenthal is reporting that Romo is one of the relievers the Mets are looking at, and Jon Heyman also noted that the Nationals are looking for a closer and Romo would fit that bill in a free agent market getting thinner and thinner.
Although it makes sense that two teams with postseason aspirations would be interested in bringing in Romo to help address their bullpen situations, it doesn’t appear that a signing is imminent. According to the New York Daily News, the Mets "aren’t close" to signing Romo. So for now, it appears that there’s a bit of smoke going on, but no fire in regards to Romo coming off of the free agent table.
Mets will be going with Bruce in right field
Speaking of the Mets, it appears that they’ve started to thin out their bloated outfield situation. There have been rumors this offseason that they’d be looking to trade one of their outfielders in order to alleviate some payroll concerns, but one of those traded outfielders won’t be Jay Bruce. According to Ken Davidoff of the New York Post, the Mets have informed Bruce that they’re planning on keeping him around as their starting right fielder and won’t be trading him.
So, assuming that the Mets have decided that they’re done trying to trade Bruce—and as Davidoff notes in his article, they were definitely trying to move him earlier in the offseason—their outfield situation is currently Yoenis Cespedes in left field, a Curtis Granderson/Juan Lagares platoon in center, and Bruce in right. That leaves Michael Conforto as the odd man out. Unless he can manage to put a less than stellar 2016 out of everyone's minds in extremely quick fashion once spring training rolls around, he’ll probably be starting the season at Triple-A.
With that being said, Bruce didn’t exactly light the world on fire in 2016 either. Bruce did finish the year with a slash line of .250/.309/.506 and 33 homers, but his production went down considerably once he arrived in New York—he only hit .219/.294/.391 with eight homers and a .251 TAv (a 50-point drop from his time in Cincinnati). Combine that with his continuing decline on defense and you can see that this isn’t exactly a great situation for New York. While the Mets may have a surplus of outfielders, it doesn’t appear that right field is a strength for them.
Tampa Bay looking Forsythe replacement
Meanwhile in Tampa Bay, the Rays are trying to figure out where they’ll be getting some offensive production since Logan Forsythe will now be plying his trade with the Dodgers. On one hand, it’s clear that looking outside of the organization would be an option, and Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times has tweeted out that the Rays checked in on free agent Mike Napoli as a possible source of right-handed power.
As far as an actual replacement at second base is concerned, it appears that Tampa Bay will be looking inward. Rays general manager Erik Neander told the Rays Radio blog that the team would probably try to find a second baseman within their organization if they can acquire a free agent first baseman as well. Nick Franklin and Tim Beckham are the obvious candidates here, so don’t be surprised if you see either of those two at second base for the Rays if they can accomplish their other free agent goals for the offseason.