Twins Add Sergio Romo To Relief Corps From Marlins
The Twins acquired Romo, righthanded pitching prospect Chris Vallimont and a player to be named later in exchange for Double-A first baseman Lewin Diaz. Vallimont ranked No. 27 in the Marlins’ updated Top 30 rankings, and Diaz ranked No. 10 in Minnesota’s system.
Sergio Romo, RHP
Miami’s bullpen has been subpar this season, but Romo has performed acceptably. The righthander a high-spin slider that he uses roughly half the time with a mid-80s fastball and has generated tons of weak contact. His 26.4 percent hard-hit rate is one of the best in the NL and has helped him rack up 17 saves, which ranked ninth in the league.
Romo is signed to a one-year, $2.5 million deal and will be a free agent at the end of the season, so he's a relatively low-cost addition for the Twins. Minnesota's bullpen is in need of reinforcements, as recent bullpen issues have helped Cleveland tighten up the American League Central race. Romo's durability (he's pitched on back-to-back days 13 times this year) should be a useful addition.
Chris Vallimont, RHP
Vallimont was a star at Division II Mercyhurst (Pa.), the same school that produced Royals outfielder David Lough and Rockies pitcher David Lee. Vallimont showed enough fastball velocity and control to entice the Marlins in the fifth round of the 2018 draft. So far, he’s lived up to expectations, showing solid feel and an ability to mix four pitches. A Midwest League all-star this year who earned a promotion to high Class A Jupiter, Vallimont’s fastball, which touched 95-96 mph in college, has been a little short of that mark so far in pro ball. He sits 90-92 mph, earning fringe-average grades from scouts. His slider, changeup and curveball also earn fringe-average to average grades.
So far, Vallimont has been one step ahead of hitters because of his relatively advanced approach and comfort with throwing any pitch in any count. But there are worries that it won’t be enough to get major league hitters out. His hope is to develop into a back-of-the-rotation starter, but he will need to sharpen his breaking balls and find a little more arm speed to achieve that ceiling.
Lewin Diaz, 1B
Diaz draws plaudits for his big-time raw power and his smooth defense at first base. He missed a chunk of last season after injuring his thumb in the high Class A Florida State League but returned this season with an overhauled body that did not sacrifice any juice in his bat. His 19 home runs between high Class A Fort Myers and Double-A Pensacola are the second-most in the Twins’ system.
Rival evaluators who like Diaz saw a player with the potential for plus power and plus defense at first base as well a chance at an average hit tool. He will need to be protected on the 40-man roster this offseason. He's been left unprotected and unpicked in each of the past two Rule 5 drafts, but now that he's had a productive season and reached Double-A, it would be much riskier to leave him unprotected.