The Washington Nationals acquired left-handed pitcher Enny Romero from the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday in exchange for minor league right-handed pitcher Jeffrey Rosa. Nationals president of baseball operations and general manager Mike Rizzo made the announcement.
Romero, a 26-year-old left-handed reliever, joins the Nationals after appearing in 52 games (45.2 IP) and striking out 9.9 batters per nine innings in his first full major league season.
Possessing an electric fastball, Romero’s velocity averaged 96.1 mph in 2016, according to FanGraphs.com. That ranked ninth among American League relievers who threw at least 40 innings, and ranked 16th in the major leagues. Among left-handed relievers, only Aroldis Chapman topped Romero in fastball velocity last season.
The youngest player on the Rays’ opening day roster a year ago, Romero retired the first 17 batters he faced in 2016, the longest such streak to open a season in Rays history. He did not allow a single batter to reach until April 21, when a walk ended the run. Romero also made 14 consecutive scoreless appearances from July 7-Aug. 30, spanning a brief disabled list stint for a back strain. Romero’s final eight appearances in that stretch, from Aug. 3-30, were hitless.
Romero, who has appeared in 76 career major league games, owns a 2-2 record and a 5.27 ERA.
Rosa, 21, went 1-8 with a 3.33 ERA in 24 starts across two seasons in Washington’s minor league system. He spent the 2015 season with the Dominican Summer League Nationals before joining the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Nationals in 2016. A native of Higuey, Dominican Republic, Rosa was signed as a non-drafted free agent on May 19, 2015.
With the acquisition of Romero, the Nationals’ 40-man roster has 39 players on it.