All of a sudden, the Oakland A’s have plenty of options for the ninth inning. Jake Diekman, the A’s presumed closer for most of the offseason, is no longer a given in that role. Lou Trivino had also been considered to be a candidate, but his inconsistencies over his career made him a question mark as well.
Then, on Sunday, the Oakland A’s made a move to further solidify the back of their bullpen. Sergio Romo was signed to a one year deal, adding another option to the ninth inning mix. He has the most closing experience of the three potential candidates, but may not be the favorite for the ninth inning.
Sergio Romo should be the Oakland A’s closer
Romo did not exactly have a great 2020 in some aspects. He posted a 4.05 ERA and his 3.2 BB/9 rate was the highest of his career. However, he also struck out 10.4 batters per nine innings and posted a 1.150 WHiP. His numbers were skewed by two particularly bad outings, where he allowed five runs on four hits and three walks, recording just a single out.
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But Romo would provide stability in the ninth inning. He had been an All Star closer in 2013 when he notched 38 saves as a member of the Giants. Romo has four seasons with at least 20 saves, and has been a closer on a World Series winning team in 2012. Those pressure packed moments would not be too big for him.
Meanwhile, there are questions as to whether or not Diekman or Trivino could handle the ninth inning. Diekman was dominant last season, but has also walked five batters per nine innings over his career. Trivino has not been one of the A’s primary setup men, never mind having received much experience in the ninth inning.
This does not mean that Romo is the perfect candidate. He is getting older, and eventually, his effectiveness will be at an end. But that does not appear to be happening just yet. For a team such as the A’s, who have playoff aspirations and needed to rebuild their bullpen on a budget, Romo is the perfect fit.
That fit should include the ninth inning. While the Oakland A’s closer spot may be up for grabs, Sergio Romo should be the prohibitive favorite.