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Rumor: Tigers interested in free agent reliever Sergio Romo

The Tigers are interested in free agent right-handed reliever Sergio Romo, who could give the Tigers needed depth in their bullpen.

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Tigers President and GM Dave Dombrowski has said if the right opportunity came along to help reinforce the Tigers' bullpen then he would make a move, but he wouldn't force the issue. The Tigers may be making their move. According to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal, the Tigers have been talking to free agent reliever Sergio Romo, who is coming off a 2014 season where a bad stretch lost him the title of closer.

UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal says nuh-uh.

Let us pretend for a minute that the Tigers are trying to fix their bullpen, Ken. --Rob

Original post: Romo, 31, is a right-handed reliever who made $5.5 million in 2014, has previous closing experience, and a history of being lights-out. Tigers fans well remember him from the 2012 postseason when he pitched three scoreless innings and struck out Miguel Cabrera looking for the final out of the World Series. Since 2012, however, his ERA and FIP have steadily increased.

In 2012, Romo had a 1.79 ERA and a 2.70 FIP, giving up just 11 runs and five home runs in 55 1/3 innings-pitched. His ERA/FIP rose to 2.54/2.85 in 2013 with 20 runs (17 earned runs) and five home runs allowed. While those numbers are an increase, they are still within reason for a reliever.

The 2014 season was another story, predominantly the result of a particularly bad stretch that lasted two months. Romo finished the season with a 3.72 ERA and a FIP of 3.94 where he gave 24 runs, and allowed nine home runs, the most of his major league career. Romo lost his job as the San Francisco Giants' closer at the end of June when he allowed 17 runs/earned runs, five home runs, and 21 hits in 18 1/3 innings from May 20-June 19.

Of note, Romo does not walk many batters, nor does he allow many hits. After the two-month bad stretch that ruined his 2014 numbers, Romo had a 0.93 ERA and held batters to a .174 batting average and a .440 OPS, allowing just two runs and one home run for the rest of the season. It's possible that Romo may have just had some bad luck and the Tigers are willing to take a chance that he'll be dominant in 2015.

If the Tigers were to get Romo, he could be the depth the Tigers' bullpen needs. Along with Bruce Rondon (who will likely assume the seventh inning), Joe Nathan, and Joakim Soria, supposedly the key to the bullpen, Romo could play into several roles.

Dombrowski said that Soria would be the team's closer if Nathan were unable to do the job, but Romo could also fill that role along with the eighth inning if it became necessary for Soria to close. Also, if Rondon isn't ready like the Tigers believe he will be at this point, Romo could take on that role.

Given that Romo has experience beyond the closer's role, it would give the Tigers flexibility on where to use him, and that is something the Tigers didn't have the luxury of in 2014.