Sergio Romo Demotion Shows that no Closer is Safe

Jun 21, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Sergio Romo (54) reacts after the final out against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the ninth inning at Chase Field. The Giants won 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

No position can be more fickle in fantasy baseball than the closer.  We learned that on Sunday when Sergio Romo of the San Francisco Giants lost his job after a rough patch that saw his ERA fly up to 5.17.

I figured that Romo was one of the closers that was pretty secure, especially after having one of the highest save totals in the league. As recently as June 12th, Romo was sporting an even three ERA, but the writing was on the wall that Romo could struggle soon.

From Opening Day until June 12th, Romo hid his bad peripherals. The 3.00 ERA and 20 saves were good, but he also featured a 4.25 FIP, 3.66 xFIP, 14.3% HR/GB rate, 8.0 K/9, and 1.67 BB/9, which are all well below average for Romo.

Since June 13th to now, Romo has been horrific and it cost him his job as the Giants closer.  Sergio Romo now has a 5.17 ERA, 7.47 K/9, 4.99 FIP, 2.01 BB/9, and 17.1% HR/FB rate.  The ERA, strikeout rate, FIP, and home run rate are an all-time worst for Romo during his Major League career.

Romo has converted 22 of 27 saves this season and has generally been a valuable asset to his fantasy owners, but now Santiago Casilla or maybe Jeremy Affeldt is the guy you should pick up.

However, this news may be too late as it was for me.  I did not learn about Sergio Romo’s demotion until late Sunday night, which was about eight hours after the news broke and Casilla was swept up by a new happy owner.

The lesson to be learned here is that almost no closer is safe and that I should have been paying more attention to his struggles because it was only a matter of time before Romo lost the gig. If you are trying to find some saves, then keep a close eye on the teams with struggling closers.

For example, Ronald Belisario of the Chicago White Sox finally lost his job yesterday, and it looks like Zach Putnam may be the front runner for the job.