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Jays, Romero agree to five-year extension

Jays, Romero agree to five-year extension

ANAHEIM -- The Blue Jays on Saturday signed left-hander Ricky Romero to a five-year, $30.1 million contract extension for the 2011-15 seasons with a club option for the 2016 season.

The contract calls for a $1.2 million signing bonus and salaries of $750,000 in 2011, $5 million in 2012, $7.5 million each year for 2013 through 2015 and a $13 million club option for 2016 with a $600,000 buyout.

The Blue Jays believe that Romero is one of the organization's top young arms and according to Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos, he is someone that they want to build their staff around. In describing the contract and Romero's abilities and importance to the club, Anthopoulos compared Romero to Milwaukee's Yovani Gallardo and Boston's Jon Lester -- both of whom have signed similar contracts.

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Romero said that the club originally came to him about an extension and it went from there.

"It was a pretty long process," Romero said. "I'm really, really happy it's done."

More important than what the contract means to him is what Romero believes this contract says to the team and the fans.

"It shows he's [Anthopoulos] committed and he wants to win obviously," observed Romero. "He knows that we have the young talent to do it and I think the whole Toronto fan base right now is excited about the young guys that are up and coming. It's definitely a step in the right direction."

As part of the contract, Romero has made a $100,000 donation to the Jays Care Foundation. Since 1992, Jays Care Foundation has been empowering children and youth in need, inspiring them to make positive choices and helping them realize their dreams by providing access to programs that support physical activity, education and life skill development.

Romero, who will make his 24th start of the season on Sunday against the Angels, is currently 9-7 with a 3.53 ERA. He has posted a shutout and three complete games this season while holding opponents to a .246 batting average.

The 25-year-old California native was the first pitcher selected and the sixth overall selection in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft after his collegiate career at Cal State Fullerton. In his short Major League career, Romero is 22-16 with a 3.94 ERA over 52 starts in his first two seasons. In those two seasons, he leads all American League pitchers by inducing 46 double plays via ground balls.

As for personal changes in his life, Romero said, "I've told the story many times, I grew up with a dream to one day pitching a big league ballpark and put on a big league uniform. This is not going to change me one bit."

One change he is hoping for though involves his family, particularly his mother, who was driving a school bus when Romero made his Major League debut.

"Hopefully sometime soon I'll be able to retire her. My parents have been my biggest inspiration my whole life," he said."

He was also happy that he was in Los Angeles and able to share this moment with his family.

"I was actually at home with them this morning when the deal got announced," Romero said. "I actually just bought a house for them in Downey, Calif., which is probably about 25 minutes away from here, so we had Mom, Dad and my little sisters and brothers and it was definitely a special moment."

Glenn Rabney is a contributor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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