The Los Angeles Dodgers are (somehow) still searching for offense in 2022, and for the next several days at least, will be looking to spark something with the promotion of a prototypical LA project bat: a high-OBP, high-power Quad-A player who never quite found it in the bigs.
Unlike Max Muncy’s trajectory, though, Stefen Romero’s features a significant stop overseas in Japan, where many successful recent reclamation projects have rediscovered their talent recently (Miles Mikolas and Merrill Kelly say hello).
Romero, a 12th-rounder selected out of Oregon State back in 2010, is now a 33-year-old journeyman who’s been to the Orix Blue Wave and back. After quite the odyssey, the Dodgers will now turn to the slugger in an attempt to fill Hanser Alberto’s spot during his stint on the paternity list.
Of course, the engagement could eventually be longer and more meaningful if it works. And, after Chris Taylor was reborn a Dodgers star, that’s exactly what patient Seattle Mariners fans are worried about right about now.
Dodgers could bring ex-Mariners prospect Stefen Romero to MLB stardom
You know the CT3 story by now. With the M’s, Taylor was a versatile Swiss Army knife who … couldn’t hit, turning a powerless .280 cameo in 2014 into a .170 big-league stretch in 2015. He was flipped midway through 2016 to the Dodgers, and was already an integral piece of a National League champion the very next season.
Romero? He’s already been on the comeback trail in Japan since beasting in Triple-A Tacoma in 2016 (.304/.361/.541 with 21 bombs), ripping 96 homers in his NPB career.
He was never able to find the same touch at the big-league level in Seattle, though, but seems to have hit the minor-league ground running at a familiar pace in 2022 in Oklahoma City, hitting .270 with 21 RBI in 24 games thus far.
Will Romero be a long-term piece in Los Angeles? Of course, we’re eons away from that reality, and top prospect Miguel Vargas likely had a stronger argument for a promotion if the Dodgers weren’t looking for a simple veteran stopgap.
Mariners fans might be watching this one more closely than Dodgers supporters, to be perfectly honest. With expectations sky high for the 2022 season and reality much closer to the cellar, this could be the final straw with regard to keeping that Ichi-Roll down.