Juan Carlos Romero
- Bats Both, Throws Left
- Height 5' 11", Weight 195 lb.
- School University of Mobile
- High School Escuela Superior Berwind
- Debut September 15, 1999
- Final Game August 22, 2012
- Born June 4, 1976 in Rio Piedras, P.R.
J.C. Romero was 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 3 relief stints for Team USA in the 1999 Pan American Games to help the U.S. qualify for the 2000 Olympics. He made his major league debut with the Minnesota Twins later in 1999 and pitched for them until 2005. He got some work as a starter in 2000 and 2001, making 11 starts each year, and then never started another game at the major league level. He was a workhorse out of the Twin' bullpen the next four seasons, working 81, 73, 74 and 68 games. His best year was 2002, when he went 9-2, 1.89, but he was solid in 2004 and 2005 as well, putting up ERAs in the mid-3.00's at a time when ERAs over 4.00 were the norm. He was charged with a loss in the 2002 ALCS, facing the Anaheim Angels who roughed him up for 5 runs over 2 innings.
Romero was traded to the re-named Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim before the 2006 season, in return for Alexi Casilla but had a terrible season, putting up a 6.70 ERA in 65 games. The Angels let him go after the season and he signed with the Boston Red Sox for 2007, but he struggled with his control and was released on June 18th even though his ERA was a decent 3.15. In a lucky move, he was picked up four days later by the Philadelphia Phillies, who were about to become the best team in the National League over the next three years. He did very well over the second half of the season, with a 1.24 ERA in 51 games, but he was charged with a loss as the Phillies were swept by the Colorado Rockies in the Division Series.
Romero had a great year in 2008 - as did the Phillies who claimed the second Championship in team history. Romero went 4-4, 2.75 in 81 games as the main lefthander out of the Phillies' bullpen, pitching 59 innings. He was flawless in the postseason, not giving up a single run over 8 appearances covering 7 1/3 innings. In January 2009, however, he was suspended for 50 games by Major League Baseball after testing positive for a banned substance. As a result, he was limited to 21 appearances, with no decisions and a 2.70 ERA in 16 2/3 innings and then missed the postseason altogether. In 2010, he was used 60 times but only pitched 36 2/3 innings as he was being increasingly used as a LOOGY. His record was only 1-0, with 3 saves, and he walked 29 batters while allowing 30 hits and striking out 28, for a 3.68 ERA. He only made two appearances, totaling just one inning, in two rounds of postseason play, not giving up anything in his brief time on the mound.
Romero was designated for assignment by the Phillies on June 16, 2011; he had not really pitched poorly, putting up a 3.86 ERA in 24 games, although he did allow 12 walks in 16 innings (but only 16 hits, and with 10 Ks). The Washington Nationals then signed him to a minor league contract. He gave up only 1 earned run in 7 innings for the AAA Syracuse Chiefs, and when the Nats failed to bring him up to the majors by July 15th, he exercised an option to sign with another team, this time joining the New York Yankees. The Yankees released him on August 8th without bringing him back to the majors, but he found yet another team as the Colorado Rockies brought him on board and used him in 12 games, in which he went 1-0, 4.32. A free agent again after the season, he signed with the St. Louis Cardinals, but put up a 10.13 ERA in 11 games to get his walking papers on May 14, 2012. On May 23rd, he signed with the Baltimore Orioles but was released again on July 10th without appearing in the major leagues. He signed with the Cleveland Indians two days later - his seventh organization in less than two years - but his travels were not yet over. On August 13th, the Indians traded him back to Baltimore for a minor leaguer, and he made 5 appearances for the Birds, putting up a 6.75 ERA in 4 innings before being released again at the end of August.
Romero was still unsigned when he joined the Puerto Rican national team for the 2013 World Baseball Classic. He did quite well for the team, picking up a pair of saves as the team made it all the way to the tournament finals, and that performance earned Romero another contract, signing with the Nationals for another go on March 22nd. However, he failed to make it back to the big leagues. In all, he had pitched 14 seasons and made 680 appearances over the course of his major league career. Not bad for someone who was picked in the 21st round back in the 1997 amateur draft.