Suddenly - just like that - it appears as if the Phillies have a pretty good-looking bullpen.
Now, if only they could get a No. 2 starter and slide Brett Myers back into an eighth inning role for new closer Brad Lidge...
Digressing, the Phillies finally ironed out the long-awaited deal with left-handed relief pitcher J.C. Romero, and could be nearly finished with their wintertime shopping before Thanksgiving.
After trading for closer Brad Lidge earlier this week, the Phillies kept Romero in the fold to strengthen a bullpen that now features Tom Gordon and Ryan Madson to work with the aforementioned relievers.
Re-signing Romero was a "priority" for the Phillies this off-season.
"J.C. had an outstanding three months for us this year, particularly down the stretch," assistant general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said in a statement. "He was an integral part of our winning the NL East and we're very happy we could get him signed before he hit the open market."
To keep Romero from hitting the open market, the Phillies and Romero agreed to a three-year deal worth $12 million. The Phillies hold a club option for a fourth year that could bring the total value of the contract to $16.75 million. That's not too bad considering that in 51 games with the Phillies, Romero posted a 1.24 ERA and held opponents to a .130 batting average. During that stretch, lefties went 5-for-40 (.125) against Romero.
Better yet, Romero was quite durable down the stretch for the NL East champion Phillies by appearing in 20 of the Phillies' 28 games in September as well as all three playoff games. In 15 2/3 innings during September, Romero did not allow a run. During one stretch, Romero appeared in nine of 10 games and five straight during the next-to-last week of the season.
"I'm glad I didn't have to go out and test the free agent market," Romero said. "I had a great time with the Phillies and really wanted to come back. I'm excited and looking forward to next season and hopefully we come out and defend our NL East title the way I know we can. The nucleus has remained the same and we added the right pieces. We need to go out and do what everyone expects us to do, which is win a World Series."
Romero has done quite well for himself considering the Phillies only picked him up after he was waived by the Boston Red Sox on June 18. He spent the first seven seasons in the big leagues with the Twins, before pitching for the Angels in 2006.