ANAHEIM, Calif. – The Toronto Blue Jays signed left-hander Ricky Romero to a five-year, $30.1 million contract extension Saturday.
The 25-year-old Romero is the second player rookie general manager Alex Anthopoulos has locked up with a long-term deal. The Blue Jays have an option for a sixth year that would increase the value of the contract to over $43 million.
"I'm really, really happy it's done and that it's over with," Romero said in the Blue Jays' dugout at Angel Stadium before batting practice. "Me and Alex engaged in a lot of conversations where he knew when to approach me and when to step away. We kept it very professional, and in the end, it all worked out."
Romero's deal, which includes a $1.25 million signing bonus, runs from 2011-15. It covers his three arbitration seasons and one year of free agency.
Romero will be paid $750,000 next season, $5 million in 2012, $7.5 million in each of the next three years. There also is a $13.1 million club option for 2016, and a $600,000 buyout. He is the first player on the roster with a contract guaranteed through 2015.
"It hasn't sunk in yet, but it isn't going to change me as a person," Romero said. "I'm still going to be the same humble guy that I've always been. Like I've said many times, I grew up with a dream to one day put on a big league uniform and pitch in a big league ballpark. So this is definitely not going to change me one bit."
With the Blue Jays in Anaheim, Romero was able to share the good news with his parents, brother and two sisters at the home he bought for them in Downey, which is about a 25-mile drive from the Big A.
"I think the organization is really pleased that he's going to be around for a while. I think it lets these guys know that, hey, we're serious and we're trying to win," said Cito Gaston, who signed a four-year consulting deal with the team that will take effect when his contract as manager expires after this season.
Romero was the sixth overall pick in the 2005 draft, behind Justin Upton, Alex Gordon, Jeff Clement, Ryan Zimmerman and Ryan Braun, and was chosen just ahead of former Cal State Fullerton teammate Troy Tulowitzki. Romero, the first pitcher selected that year, was considered a bust selection until he broke through last spring to win a spot in the Blue Jays' rotation. He went 13-9 with a 4.30 ERA in his rookie campaign.
This season, the 25-year-old is 9-7 with a 3.53 ERA in 23 starts.
"You wanted to do so good because of the guys you saw get picked ahead of you and behind you already in the big leagues, so at times, it got a little stressful," Romero acknowledged. "I was always known as the guy that got chosen ahead of Troy Tulowitzki. But me and Tulo have a good relationship and we always joke about it. Now we're two guys who are successful, and I can't be any happier about it."
Left fielder-DH Adam Lind, who signed his extension with Anthopoulos at the end of spring training, has an $18 million, four-year deal that runs through 2013 with club options that could take him through the 2016 campaign.
"It shows that Alex wants to win and that he's committed to winning," Romero said. "He knows that we have the young talent to do it. I think the whole Toronto fan base right now is pretty excited about the young guys that are up and coming, so it's definitely a step in the right direction."