Yankees: What does Brian Cashman see in newly-signed Sal Romano?


You may have missed it, but late on Friday night the New York Yankees signed former Cincinnati Reds pitcher Sal Romano.

Other than having a prototypical name for a guy in the Bronx, we’re truly not sure why general manager Brian Cashman opted to strike a deal here … other than for pitching depth at the Triple-A level.

Romano, a 27-year-old from Syosset, New York, has not been anywhere close to effective since debuting back in 2017. He’s never been able to throw three pitches effectively throughout his career and has been bounced around between the rotation and the bullpen.

Does he fit in anywhere with the Yankees? After all, he’s appeared in 15 games for the Reds before he was designated for assignment thanks to a 5.23 ERA and 1.40 WHIP in those outings.

Once upon a time, Romano’s strength was his fastball, which averaged 96 MPH back in 2019. Then he lost about one MPH on it in 2020. Then he lost 1.9 MPH on it since last year.

It’s hard enough not possessing three pitches to effectively throw … and it’s even harder when your velocity starts to decline. Now, he mostly deploys a slider and a sinker.

What do the Yankees see in reliever Sal Romano?

Here’s what Anthony Franco of MLBTradeRumors.com wrote:

"“Romano had pitched in fourteen games for Cincinnati this year, his most extensive MLB work since 2018. Over 20 2/3 relief innings, Romano pitched to a 5.23 ERA with a poor 13.2% strikeout rate and an average 9.9% walk percentage. The 27-year-old has never missed many bats, and he’s bottomed out in that regard this year; Romano’s 5.1% swinging strike rate is tied for 240th among 244 relievers with at least ten innings pitched. He also didn’t come out of the gates with his typical velocity; Romano has averaged 93.3 MPH on his sinker this season, down about two ticks from his previous levels.”"

Maybe there are some peripherals that are encouraging? Nope, not many! At least not in 2021. (The blue is bad).

We’d love to find something, but even his ERA+, FIP and BABIP stats aren’t great. Or they don’t show a trend on a year-to-year basis. Perhaps his season would be a lot different had he not surrendered six earned runs in just 0.2 innings of work against the Los Angeles Dodgers in late April. Remove that outing from the equation and he’s got a 2.70 ERA and 1.05 WHIP.

Maybe there’s something they see with his sinker that can be modified and utilized? Who knows. But at this very moment, let’s chalk this signing up as a move to patch up the pitching depth at Triple-A and an emergency arm to help out the bullpen should there be injuries or someone needs a breather.