The Rays have agreed to terms on a one-year, Major League deal with right-handed reliever Sergio Romo, who spent the second half of the 2017 campaign in Tampa Bay. Romo can earn up to $2.75-million, although the amount guaranteed is not clear. The official announcement of the deal is pending a physical.
The 35 year-old hurler was designated for assignment from the Dodgers after struggling through 25 innings last season, yet he found new life when the Rays picked him up in a minor deal around the trade deadline. In 30-2/3 innings, Romo performed to a minuscule 1.47 ERA/2.96 FIP with an excellent 4:1 K/BB, and a 38.8% ground-ball rate.
Romo was able to miss bats to the tune of more than a strikeout per inning, in spite of the fact that both his fastball and sinker clocked in 87 mph last season. Romo averaged a 9.5 K/9 in 2017, accompanied by a 14.9% SWSR.
More on the stadium announcement
As expected, the “big” announcement regarding the Rays preferred stadium site in Ybor City offered very little actual news. Noah Pransky (Shadow of the Stadium, WTSP News), who attended the presser, referred to it as a dog-and-pony show, that was aimed at building support from the business community…as well as an appetite for public spending from taxpayers.
If you were expecting any actual details of substance — like what the stadium could look like, a timeline for completion, how to pay for a facility that could cost more than $700-million, and how much the team would contribute beyond “a good amount of money” toward a financing agreement — you are out of luck, as none of that was addressed in anything but a superficial way.
And there is a singular reason for that: no substantive negotiations have been held.
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn pledged that “we’re not going to put the burden on the taxpayers,” yet the project could rely on growth in Ybor City property tax collections spurred by the stadium.
When pressed by Pransky, Buckhorn said he stands by his three-year old quote (They’ll use every opportunity…to extract – some would say extort – the most money from the public.) and if the team’s demands get too high, he’ll let them walk right back to St. Petersburg.
Across the bay St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman responded accordingly, saying that he hoped the team’s decision is not final, pointing to the financial hurdles that lay ahead — ones that are all but non-existent in the plan to build a new stadium at the current site.
Toward the end of the press conference things became rather uncomfortable to say the least. A consultant hired by the parties associated with the effort to build the Rays a new stadium in Tampa forcefully and physically restrained Pransky as he tried to ask Commissioner Ken Hagan questions when he left the presser. That would not be what one would call a public relations coup for the Tampa Bay Rays, the Hillsbrough County Commission, or Hagan in his re-election effort.
I have speculated on the announcement throughout the offseason, especially within the last week. You can find links to those articles within one handy centralized link below: