In his first foray into free agency, right-hander Sergio Romo said he fielded interest from a handful of other teams, some of whom offered a chance to close or the possibility of a three-year deal. Ultimately, though, he chose to return to the place and organization he knows best.
The Giants announced Monday they re-signed Romo to a two-year deal, keeping their bullpen largely intact by bringing back one of the key late-inning pieces. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but on a conference call, Romo, 31, indicated that just as important as financial considerations was the opportunity to remain in “the place where I was able to make a name for myself.”
“All in all, I really wanted to just stay at home,” Romo said. “I don’t really see myself wearing another uniform.”
Romo has worn only orange and black since he debuted with the Giants in 2008. Romo is 31-21 with a 2.51 ERA, 78 saves and the third-best strikeout-per-walk ratio (5.92) among major-league pitchers and the fourth-best WHIP (0.92) among MLB relievers since his debut.
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Romo, who saved 23 games in 2014, lost the closing job after a spate of midseason ineffectiveness. He rebounded by settling into an eighth-inning role, and that flexibility drew the praise of manager Bruce Bochy, who said Monday keeping the bullpen together was a priority this offseason.
“So much is talked about with our bullpen, and for us to keep it intact and have somebody (like Romo) that can pitch late in the ballgame, whether setting up or closing, I felt was important for our team and our bullpen,” Bochy said.
Giants general manager Brian Sabean said Romo’s “resume speaks for itself, what he’s done for us in high-leverage situations.”
Romo was the Giants’ closer during their 2012 World Series title run and has compiled a 3-1 record and 2.11 ERA in 25 career postseason appearances.
Romo said he fielded offers from other teams that included the chance to be a full-time closer again. He also acknowledged that a deal with a guaranteed third year “would have meant a lot to me” and indicated other teams would have been willing to offer that.
But Romo weighed his familiarity with Bochy and pitching coach Dave Righetti and his with relievers Jeremy Affeldt, Javier Lopez and Santiago Casilla, who like Romo have been w on all three of the Giants’ championship teams in the last five years.
“You’ve got to go someplace where you’re happy and you’re excited to go to work every day,” Romo said. “The Giants, they gave me an opportunity to be somebody. And I enjoy going to work.
“Even in the down times, it’s like, all right, look at our stadium, look at our fans. For me, I was just really glad that I was actually wanted back. That’s the way I look at it.”
The Giants outrighted infielder Angel Villalona to the minor leagues to clear a spot for Romo on the 40-man roster.
Scutaro has surgery – Infielder Marco Scutaro, who missed most of last season with back issues, underwent back surgery Friday in Miami. Sabean described the surgery as a fusion of two vertebrae. Scutaro has been released from the hospital and is expected to begin rehab soon, but his return to baseball – and the Giants – remains in question. “This is the type of thing that it’s probably four to six months before we know if baseball is possible,” Sabean said.
Rotation update – The Giants said they likely will finalize a deal Tuesday that will bring back free-agent starting pitcher Jake Peavy. Sabean said the rotation for next season is not necessarily fixed – the Giants have had discussions with free agent James Shields – but he said about any further move: “At this time, there’s not anything we’re going to put forth that would probably change where our budget’s at.”