In an unexpected move on Saturday, the Toronto Blue Jays released left-hander Ricky Romero, per Gregor Chisholm of

Romero was in the final year of a five-year contract and was set to earn $7.5 million this season. The Blue Jays will have to pay that amount in full along with a $600,000 buyout fee for Romero’s $13.1 club option in 2016.

This move closes the door on Romero’s tumultuous tenure with Toronto that was full of ups and downs.

Taken sixth overall in the first round of the 2006 MLB Draft, Romero reached the majors in 2009 and posted a 13-9 record with a 4.30 ERA that season. He won 14 games in 2010 and had his breakout season in 2011 when he went 15-11 with a 2.92 ERA and made the American League All-Star team.

That was Romero’s last great season in the major leagues. He struggled badly in 2012 and posted a 5.77 ERA. Heading into the 2013 season, the Blue Jays decided leave Romero off their starting rotation. Since then, the former top starter has spent most of his time in Triple-A Buffalo.

This past offseason, Romero underwent surgery on both of his knees. While he has begun the rehab process, the Blue Jays felt that he wouldn’t recover in time to help the team this season. With that in mind, Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos made the decision to release Romero.

“We just didn‘t think that by the end of the year he was going to be able to factor for us up here. Knowing this was the last year of his contract, we felt it was best to just give him the opportunity to give him a head start somewhere else,” Anthopoulos said.

While Romero’s time with Toronto didn’t end well, Anthopoulos had nothing but praise for his former top pitcher as he’s going through rehab.

“He’s worked tremendously hard. We have nothing but the highest praise for the way he’s gone about it,” he said.

Romero’s future is now unclear. The 30-year-old is likely going to continue rehabbing from surgery on his own and hope that can catch on with another organization on a minor league deal.

Regardless of what happens next, it’s a shame to see how things between Romero and the Blue Jays turned out after they began with such promise.


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