Stefen Romero had another strong season for the Tacoma Rainiers in 2016, putting up big batting numbers that were just a tier below Pacific Coast League MVP-level.
Romero hit .304 with 21 home runs and 85 RBI. He added 24 doubles and six triples, while drawing 36 walks and striking out only 67 times in 418 at-bats. His OPS was .902, with a .361 on-base percentage and .541 slugging.
In the counting stats, Romero made some serious gains on Tacoma’s all-time lists. He’s been here for a long time, and he’s produced since his first Triple-A season in 2013.
The key to climbing up these lists is to play in a lot of games for Tacoma, and to play well. Romero has appeared in 351 career games for Tacoma, which ranks as the 15th-most by a position player since Tacoma joined the Pacific Coast League in 1960.
Here are some of Romero’s better rankings:
Runs Batted In
Romero has 274 RBI in his Tacoma career, which ranks second on the all-time list. He passed former Tacoma Twins slugger Randy Bass (273 from 1975-77) to take second place. Danny Goodwin of the Tacoma Tigers (1982-85) is the all-time leader with 301.
The 2016 season was Romero’s second-best of his career in terms of dingers. He hit 21 home runs, bumping his Tacoma career total up to 61. That’s good for sixth-best all-time, and is just 11 away from Tacoma home run king Rick Renick (72 for the Tacoma Twins, 1972-75).
With 127 hits this season, Romero now has 424 while wearing a Tacoma jersey. He became the fifth player in franchise history to reach 400 career hits, although he has a long way to go to catch all-time leader Gil Garrido. Garrido banged out 663 hits for the Tacoma Giants from 1961 to 1965.
The top of the Tacoma all-time doubles list is all players of recent vintage, from the Rainiers era (1995 to present). Romero has hit 91 two-baggers for Tacoma, which is fourth in franchise history. Bryan LaHair (2006-09) is the leader with 110, while Jeff Clement (95, 2006-09) and Dan Rohrmeier (94, 1997-98) are also ahead of Romero.
Romero isn’t a burner on the basepaths, but he ain’t slow either. Romero has hit 16 triples for Tacoma, which believe it or not ranks fourth-best in franchise history. The numbers are low, because Cheney Stadium is not and has never been a triples-friendly ballpark. Garrido is the all-time leader with 24, while Tacoma Giants outfielder Bob Perry (1960-63) is second with 21. Tacoma Tigers star Eric Fox (1990-94) ranks third with 18 triples.
What’s next for Romero? Good question.
For the second season in a row, Romero did not get called up by Seattle in September after the Rainiers season ended. It’s hard to see how he fits into the Mariners plans for 2017, considering they didn’t recall him in September.
He’s still on the Mariners 40-man roster, but 2016 was his third and final option year. He can’t be optioned to Tacoma next year without clearing waivers first. But if he cleared waivers (say, at the end of spring training) he would be outrighted to Tacoma – so it is possible he could come back for one more season.
For the Rainiers sake, I would love to have him back next year. For Romero’s sake, I would love to see him get a chance with another major league club, or maybe overseas in Japan where he could potentially make some big bucks.
Romero’s future will be one of the stories of the offseason.
- Many of you readers attended one of the final home games of the season and received a team photo with the 2017 home schedule on the reverse, getting a sneak preview. On Tuesday, the Rainiers officially released next year’s home schedule. When the entire schedule is released with all of the road games, I’ll write about it in depth – the PCL is going from 144 games to 142 this year, causing an unbalanced schedule.
- The Mariners had their annual rookie dress-up day, and Dan Vogelbach‘s resemblance to Chris Farley gained the attention of TMZ.
- Seattle blasted Houston on Wednesday, 12-4, and finished the final road trip of the season with a solid 4-2 record – but they didn’t gain any ground in the standings. The M’s are two games behind Baltimore with four games remaining. Other games this week: defensive misplays cost the Mariners dearly in an 8-4 loss at Houston on Tuesday… the Mariners won the first game in Houston on Monday night when Robinson Cano homered in the eleventh inning.
- Bob Dutton’s Mariners Notebook today discusses Vogelbach’s need to improve his defense at first base… on Tuesday, he wrote that relievers Nick Vincent and Evan Scribner are making positive impressions which could carry forward to next season… Monday’s edition tells us that Rainiers manager Pat Listach was summoned to be an extra coach during the three-game series at Houston.
- Robinson Cano‘s ramped-up offseason workout program led to his big 2016 season.
- Well-traveled former Rainiers infielder/outfielder Patrick Kivlehan was claimed off waivers by the Cincinnati Reds, and he’ll join the big league club for the final weekend. Kivlehan’s 2016 season: Round Rock>Tacoma>El Paso>San Diego>El Paso>Cincinnati.
- Nothing to do with the Mariners or Rainiers, but I was interested by this article on the Washington Nationals post-homer helmet removal ritual.
I’m out of town for the weekend and our next update will come on Tuesday. Keeping my fingers crossed I’ll be blogging about a Mariners Wild Card game!