By Matt Gelb
The Phillies will replace J.C. Romero with... J.C. Romero.
Two baseball sources confirmed Monday the lefthander will return for his fifth season in Philadelphia. The two sides have reached an agreement on a one-year contract, pending a physical.
Romero is in Puerto Rico with his family for the holidays and the physical may not take place until after Jan. 1.
CSN Philly was the first to report the deal late Sunday night.
Romero, who turns 35 in June, will likely take a significant pay cut to remain with the team. He made $4 million in 2010 and shortly after the season ended, the Phillies declined a $4.5 million option for 2011, instead paying him a $250,000 buyout.
The Phillies had found a replacement for Romero earlier in the off-season when they agreed in principle to a one-year, $1.1 million deal with Dennys Reyes. But the two sides could not finalize the contract following Reyes' physical in Philadelphia.
With the market for lefthanders dwindling, the Phillies chose the familiar one. Romero lacked control in 2010, walking 29 batters while striking out 28. He blamed nebulous mechanical problems as the culprit and still showed flashes of effectiveness, but the walks hurt more than they had in years past.
It's likely Romero will make something near what Reyes was scheduled to make. Last week, assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said the team still had Reyes' money to allocate to a lefthanded reliever even after signing Cliff Lee.
They could have held onto that money and filled the lefthanded reliever job internally with either Antonio Bastardo, Dan Meyer, Mike Zagurski or Sergio Escalona, but chose for experience.
When Romero officially re-joins the roster, the Phillies will have to make a corresponding roster move because the 40-man roster is full.