Miguel Romero of Team Cuba pitches in the third inning against Team USA during the World Baseball Classic Semifinals at loanDepot park on March 19, 2023 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network
Cuban right-handed pitcher Miguel Romero was released by the Tomateros de Culiacan oin the Liga ARCO Mexicana del Pacifico due to disagreements with the front office on his role with the team, Yusseff Diaz of Pelota Cubana USA reported on Wednesday.
Romero, 29, was born in Guantanamo, Cuba, and was released on May 23 by the Oakland Athletics after recording a 6.60 ERA in 14 games with Triple-A Las Vegas.
During the 2023-24 winter league season, Romero started in four games, posting a 2-2 record along with a 3.43 ERA. Romero threw 21 innings, allowing 18 hits, eight earned runs, three home runs, seven walks, and 10 strikeouts with a 1.190 WHIP before he was released.
Romero began his professional career as an 18-year-old in the Serie Nacional de Béisbol, the primary professional baseball league in Cuba. In four years with the Indios de Guantanamo, Romero appeared in 46 games and had a 4.80 ERA.
He signed with the Oakland Athletics as an international free agent in 2017 and advanced quickly through their system. Romero was promoted to Triple-A Las Vegas in 2019, but was never called up to Major League Baseball. Romero’s best statistical minor league season came in 2019, recording a win-loss record of 4-1 with 81 strikeouts in 72.2 innings.
Romero pitched in 10 games in 2019-20 with Indios de Mayaguez of Liga de Beisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente, the winter professional baseball league in Puerto Rico. He recorded a 1.46 ERA and had 13 strikeouts in 12.1 innings. He returned to Puerto Rico in the winter of 2022-23, playing for Gigantes de Carolina. Romero allowed no earned runs and six hits in seven innings.
Romero was also on the Cuban national team in the 2023 World Baseball Classic and was named one of three pitchers on the All-Tournament Team. The other two were Shohei Ohtani and Patrick Sandoval, both members of the Los Angeles Angels. Romero led the tournament in strikeouts with 13 and pitched in five games for Cuba. No other pitcher in the World Baseball Classic appeared in more than four. Opposing hitters had a combined .219 batting average against Romero at the WBC. Romero threw 8.2 innings posting a 2-0 record alongside a 2.08 ERA allowing seven hits, two earned runs, one walk, and striking out 13 batters including a 0.92 WHIP.
Cuba won Pool A of the World Baseball Classic but lost to the United States 14-2 in the semifinals at loanDepot Park in Miami.
Romero in his six seasons in the minor leagues is 14-13 with 19 saves and a 5.41 ERA, including 183 appearances and 21 starts. Romero has thrown 306.1 innings allowing 325 hits, 184 earned runs, 48 home runs, 141 walks, and 287 strikeouts including a 1.190 WHIP.
Romero in his three seasons in the winter leagues has a 5-2 record with a 2.23 ERA in 19 appearances and four starts alongside five saves. Romero has thrown 40.1 innings allowing 36 hits, 10 earned runs, three home runs, 16 walks, and 29 strikeouts with a 1.289 WHIP.
According to Diaz. Romero is also committed to play for Rieleros de Aguascalientes for the 2024 Liga Mexicana de Beisbol season.
The 2024 Liga Mexicana de Beisbol season will start on April 11. The Rieleros de Aguascalientes will play their home opener on April 12 for their three game series against Charros de Jalisco at Estadio Alberto Romo Chávez.
Liga Mexicana de Beisbol has not yet announced the times of the 2024 regular season.
According to Diaz, Romero has shown interest to play on the Cuban national team for the Premier 12 tournament from November 10-24.
The Federación Cubana de Beisbol will only have Serie Nacional and Elite League players domestically and professional players that are playing in other international leagues instead of the off-40 man registered players in Major League Baseball be fill the roster for the national team in the Premier 12 tournament.
Cuba is ranked No. 8 in the World Baseball Rankings provided by the World Baseball Softball Confederation and will have to wait for the next change date of the rankings on December 31, 2023 to see if they qualify for the Premier 12 tournament for their third consecutive time in their nation’s history.