Friday, December 09, 2005

Angels Acquire reliever J.C. Romero From Twins

The Angels pulled the trigger on a trade to bring left-handed reliever J.C. Romero to Anaheim in 2006. The Halos had to give the Twins infield prospect Alexi Casilla who started last season in Double A Arkansas before being promoted to Triple A Salt Lake on April 30th. Strangely, Casilla played just 13 games and was then bumped all the way down to Single A Cedar Rapids where he batted .325 with 11 doubles, 3 triples and 3 HR's.

Romero, who had a career year in 2002 going 9-2 with a 1.89 ERA, has been less effective of late compiling a 4-3 record in 2005 with a 3.47 ERA. More troubling was Romero's lack of control last season when he walked 39 batters in 57 innings of work. Compare that with his 2002 season when he walked just 36 in 81 innings pitched.

I originally balked at the idea of the Angels spending one of their top prospects to acquire Romero, but given the Twins took almost nothing (like the Angels really needed another light-hitting infielder) I have to give this move a thumbs-up. Romero is the left-handed reliever the Angels have done without (to their detriment) since 2003 when Scott Shoeneweiss was allowed to leave. Longer than that given the fact that Shoeneweiss was largely an ineffective reliever (or starter for that matter).

If the Angels can work with Romero to get him back to some semblance of his 2002 self, then they may have found a gem. If Romero is only has good as he has been the past couple of years he is still better than several other reliever hacks that have wandered through the Angels clubhouse in recent years. The $1.25 million Romero made last season makes him a bit pricier than most Angel relievers, at least until Scot Shields and Frankie Rodriguez's arbitration hearings.

Next up: Get a big bat for the middle of the lineup.

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