Cincinnati Reds face tough decision with Sal Romano

(Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images) /

The Cincinnati Reds have to decide how to handle Sal Romano.

The Cincinnati Reds have a similar situation with Sal Romano, as they do with other starting pitchers.  They have to figure out if he is a starter or reliever.  What makes Romano different is he has indicators of being good at both roles, unlike fellow starting prospect Robert Stephenson.

The Reds have three options staring them in the face.  They could keep Romano with them, either as a starter or a reliever.  They could also send him back down to the minors to figure things out.

The first option, keeping Romano as a starter, is mostly up to him.  It would require Romano winning the last spot in the rotation or having one of the veterans come up lame.  Having pitched two innings his first time out this spring was a good sign that the Reds are considering this option.

Keeping Romano on the major league roster as a reliever could also work.  He demonstrated last season that he has big league stuff.  He could slide into the one middle reliever role that is clearly open on the staff.

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That last option is a little bit hairier.  If Romano went back to the minors, he could be an ace in Double-A or in a competitive environment in Triple-A.  The best way there would be to use him as a starter and pivot to a bullpen role later.

The Cincinnati Reds have a player that can predict what will become of Sal Romano.

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While their build and stuff are very different, Sal Romano and Scott Bankhead are very similar in who they are as MLB pitchers.  Bankhead pitched for 10 seasons from 1986 through 1985.  He had the same basic issue as Romano, when he started his WHIP went up.

In Bankhead’s age 24 season, he went 7-9 with a 3.07 ERA.  He struck out 102 over 135 innings.  He also walked just 38.

That was Bankhead’s second best season as a starter and  Romano’s age 24 season could look similar.

If Romano could make five more starts and pitch fifty more innings without walking anymore batters, then he would be there with Bankhead.  If Romano can get that much additional control then, that option would make great sense.

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The issue with Romano is that he falls somewhere between Aaron Harang and Rob Dibble on the spectrum of which former Red he most resembles.  Romano is also exceedingly young for an MLB starting pitcher.  That means that the Reds have some time to figure it all out.