It’s been more than four years since Ricky Romero walked off the mound at the Major League level. Yesterday, he finally made it official; the former Blue Jays lefty called it a career.
Via his Instagram account, Romero officially announced his retirement from baseball. It was an overdue announcement, but now the 34-year-old has closure on his 10-year pro ball career. Back in August, Romero told Sportsnet 590’s Jeff Blair that he hadn’t yet closed the door on his career. Now, that chapter is over.
Romero steps away from the game with a career 51-45 record, 4.16 ERA and 622 strikeouts through five MLB seasons. His career highlights include an All-Star Game selection in 2011 and a Top 10 Cy Young finish in 2011. Among Blue Jays franchise records, Romero ranks 13th all-time in games started (tied with J.A. Happ) and 13th in strikeouts.
Although his tenure in Toronto was a short one, his rookie campaign quickly elevated Romero into a fan favourite. Judging by these comments left by his former teammates, Romero was revered in the clubhouse, as well.
These words of encouragement range from former teammates like Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Scott Richmond, Marc Rzepczynksi and J.P. Arencibia.
Following his breakout 2011 campaign, Romero battled through injuries and made every scheduled start during the 2012 season. He finished with a career-worst 5.77 ERA in 32 starts for the Blue Jays. It was eventually revealed that Romero pitched with torn quads in both his legs.
He was never quite the same and made his last Major League appearance on September 25th 2013 as a September call-up, pitching out of the bullpen.
The lefty spent 2014 with the Buffalo Bisons and started nine games that year. The Blue Jays eventually released him in April of 2015. He signed a minor league deal with the San Francisco Giants in May of 2015 and started four games in a rehab assignment in the Arizona League.
In November of 2015, the Giants elected to bring back Romero on a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training. He made two starts in April of 2016 before landing on the disabled list and the Giants released him the following spring in 2017.
After his release from the Giants, the lefty spent some time in the Mexican League, pitching 12 games in relief for the Toros de Tijuana. July 22nd 2017 was the very last time he stepped off the mound in a competitive capacity.
When I think back on Romero’s career in Toronto, I’ll remember him as one of the best left-handed starters to wear a Blue Jays uniform. His rise was meteoric and his fall was unexpected and dramatic, but people in Toronto won’t soon forget the name “Romero”.
In fact, he’ll be one of the official alumni players appearing at Blue Jays Winter Fest on January 19th and 20th.