The crafty righthander with the box-to-box slider will slide into a Twins uniform again in 2020.
Righthander Sergio Romo agreed to a one-year contract to return to return to the Twins next season, a deal that includes a team option for 2021. A source with knowledge of the details confirmed the agreement, and the deal is expected to be made official later in the week.
Romo, who will be 37 on March 4, posted a 3.18 ERA in 27 games with the Twins after coming over on a deadline day trade with Miami. The Twins sent the Marlins power-hitting prospect Lewin Diaz for Romo and righthander Chris Vallimont.
A capable late-inning setup man despite throwing a fastball that averaged only 86.4 miles per hour, Romo’s money pitch is a slider that, as teammate Jake Odorizzi said last season, breaks from one batter’s box to the other.
He’s got smarts, savvy and still some skills, and it’s been enough for him to be effective despite him creeping toward age 40. He’s eccentric as much as is comical, and he blended into the clubhouse vibe as soon as he arrived.
Romo made $2.5 million last season. His new deal gives him a guaranteed $4.75 million 2020 salary, with a $5 million team option for 2021 with a $250,000 buyout figure.
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The Twins have the makings of an effective bullpen in 2020, with Taylor Rogers establishing himself as a reliable closer, and Tyler Duffey and Trevor May proving they can be late inning options. Cody Stashak was called up during the season and was stingy with walks. Zack Littell made progress as well. But bullpens can be volatile from year to year, so bringing in an experienced arm like Romo’s can help.
The Twins will add a few nonroster invitees, but indications are that they will look for quality arms to be part of the bullpen mix next season.
Romo has pitched in 708 games and has a career 2.92 ERA. He broke into the majors with the Giants in 2008 and pitched on three World Series championship teams. He has also pitched for the Dodgers, Rays and Marlins.
His best season was 2013, when he was a National League All-Star and had 38 saves as the Giants closer. Romo won World Series in 2010, 2012 and 2014 and, after pitching in two games in the American League Division Series for the Twins last season, has 29 postseason games under his belt.
Former Twins pitcher Caleb Thielbar signed a minor league contract with the Twins. The 32-year-old lefthander from Northfield, Minn., pitched in 109 games for the Twins between 2013-2015, with a 5-3 record and 2.74 ERA.