The biggest mystery of the season for the Blue Jays is what has happened to the rising star of pitcher Ricky Romero.
Struggling at Triple-A Buffalo, Romero on Friday suffered the ignominy of being passed through outright waivers with no team feeling he was worth the risk of claiming for a small fee.
Of course, that $20.6 million (U.S.) in guaranteed money was a huge deterrent.
How far has the left-hander’s star fallen?
Just two years ago, Romero finished top 10 in AL Cy Young voting among an elite group of starters that included Justin Verlander, Jered Weaver, James Shields, CC Sabathia, C.J. Wilson, Dan Haren and Josh Beckett.
Two years later, he’s in a starting group including Justin Germano, Dave Bush, Claudio Vargas and Edgar Gonzalez. The Jays could always bring him back since he was not claimed by any other team, but why would they?
It has been a sudden and dramatic fall from grace, and Romero has done nothing to save himself. The parachute he packed before this flight has become tangled and failed to deploy; his career is in freefall. The results are difficult to watch and it will take a miracle to save him.
How much has his fun-loving personality, his daily routine changed? Romero is one of the young Jays, one of the original and prodigious users of Twitter. Fans loved it. They could communicate with directly and hear directly from the Blue Jays stars, and Romero was a willing participant.
Romero’s last Tweet issued on his account, @RickyRo24 was May 2, the day before he was slated to make his first start against the Mariners at the Rogers Centre. He was happy and grateful.
“Go Time,” read the message. The hashtag was #ForeverBlessed. There was an Instagram photo attached to it that read “Dear Past, Thank you for your lessons. Dear Future, I’m ready to go. Dear God, Thank you for another chance.”