According to multiple sources, the Doosan Bears of the Korean League will buy out the contract of Indianapolis third baseman Deibinson Romero from the Pittsburgh Pirates. The deal is not complete yet, with the Bears saying they need to “go through some administrative formalities with the Pirates” before it can be completed.

Romero is hitting .302/.403/.548 in 38 games this year and has been one of the better hitters in the International League. Last year, the Pirates traded Chris Dickerson to the Cleveland Indians when he got off to a similar start because they didn’t have a place for him in the big leagues. A move like that actually helps teams when they look for minor league free agents in the off-season, because they will see a team is willing to deal them for little or nothing in return, if a spot opens up for that player elsewhere. Some systems are known for keeping a player as depth for an entire season and not using them.

It’s also possible that Romero had an out clause in his contract, which often times call for the player to be in the Majors by a specific date, possibly June 1st in this case based on the timing. Romero has no MLB experience and he is already 28 years old, so there is limited upside with him despite the strong stats. With a crowded infield in Pittsburgh already, there wasn’t a huge need for him at this time.

UPDATE: Thoughts from Tim Williams…

Romero looked like good depth, but it might have been difficult for him to crack the majors and have any kind of significant role. Josh Harrison is playing better now, and if Harrison goes down, the Pirates have Jung-ho Kang capable of taking over. That would put Jordy Mercer back at shortstop, and I’m certain the Pirates would choose Mercer starting over Romero.

As John noted above, teams will give players an opportunity to go elsewhere if they don’t have a shot at making the majors. The fact that Romero’s elsewhere was Korea, rather than another MLB team like Dickerson last year, indicates that he wasn’t in high demand around the league.

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14 COMMENTS

  1. Could Romero have played first base? Has he ever played first base? He would have been a likely upgrade over Hart, if he has the ability to backup at first base and start there once/week.

      • The same guys who “upgraded” the short-side 1B platoon with Corey Hart over Gaby Sanchez?

        Oh whew, now I’m much more confident.

        • Neither one is a world beater, so I’d call it a push. It appears as though Sean Rodriguez is getting Gaby’s ab’s. He appears to be a very smart pickup in spite of all the arm chair gm’s poo pooing the move. The one thing I’ll give Hart credit for is 7 or 8 hits as a pinch hitter. Not an easy thing to do.

          • I didn’t like the S Rod move. I’ll admit it. Very happy to be wrong. Borden could one day be a good #3 or #4 or something but you can’t hold on to all of your prospects. Rodriguez has helped this team quite a bit.

            • Borden looking more like a future bullpen option than SP, since he is at least spending some time in the bullpen in A ball at 23 years old. Ceiling of a 3-4, middling of a bullpen arm.

              • He started off the season in the bullpen, but is now in a starting/piggyback role. He has gone 5+ innings in his last four outings, and 4 innings in the outing before that. In that stretch of 26 innings, he has given up 1 ER. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in Double-A by the middle of the season.

                • Are you more comfortable with the trade now or is this one of those cases where the trade is over with and you just pay attention to what Rodriguez is doing?

                  • My thought on the trade was always that they paid a high price for Rodriguez, with where he was valued. However, this is the type of move they had to make, since they had plenty of depth like Borden in the lower minors, and have an obvious need to try and win now at the MLB level.

                    I’d say my feeling on this is the latter, where I don’t look back, and just pay attention to Rodriguez. Of course, that’s how I am with about 95% of transactions. I do follow Borden closer, just because I’ve got an interest in the Rays, and because we were higher on him than most outlets.

    • He has 44 games of experience at 1B in a 900+ game minor league career. I guess he could stand there in an emergency, but it’s probably just asking too much to pencil him in as the weak-side platoon.

      The depth behind Hart is frighteningly thin, which gives him a bit more job security than he might otherwise be entitled to. Rodriguez would obviously be option A, and Lombardozzi could fill in the super-U role, but after that it’s…? Lambo bats lefty. Tony Sanchez’s 1B experiment lasted 2 games. No one else on the 40-man has experience at the position, and off the 40-man you have Hunter Morris – a lefty; Josh Bell – likely a year or more away; and…are we really looking at Brent Morel?

      Has Casey McGehee passed through waivers yet?

        • Jones is also a lefty. The spot Hart is occupying at least for now is weak-side (RHH) platoon 1B. The pitch fork crowd has been calling for his head but honestly, I don’t know where the replacement comes from. Which is why I think he’ll be around a lot longer than people may want to believe.

          • He can’t hit lefties, so him being a righty really has no relevance unless you just get tired of looking at the left side of the tv screen. Of course Jones can’t hit lefties either, but luckily I was completely joking anyways.

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