Red Sox put in claim on Nats' Guzman?

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With the uncertainty surrounding Jed
Lowrie’s wrist injury, the Red Sox are growing increasingly desperate
to find an upgrade at the shortstop position. Case in point, a report
from the Boston Globe citing “major league sources” that
they have put in a claim on Cristian Guzman.



Though the claim is not confirmed, it would mean the Red Sox 48 hours to work out a deal with the
Nationals. The Nationals could also decide to just give up Guzman’s contract or pull him back.




While Guzman ranks tenth in the
National League in batting this season, he also has a .333 on-base
percentage and has drawn just 11 walks in 402 plate appearances. He has
4.7% career walk rate — you know, Delmon Young and Jeff Francoeur
territory. Guzman is widely known as one of the least sure-handed shortstops in the majors (-6.3 UZR in his career).




The Nationals should be packing his bags already. Guzman is in the first year
of a two-year, $16 million dollar contract. If Mike Rizzo can get the
Red Sox to take on that contract, he just might get the “interim” tag
removed from his job title.

Zack Cozart thinks the way the Rays have been using Sergio Romo is bad for baseball

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The Rays started Sergio Romo on back-to-back days and if that sounds weird to you, you’re not alone. Romo, of course, was the star closer for the Giants for a while, helping them win the World Series in 2012 and ’14. He’s been a full-time reliever dating back to 2006, when he was at Single-A.

In an effort to prevent lefty Ryan Yarbrough from facing the righty-heavy top of the Angels’ lineup (Zack Cozart, Mike Trout, Justin Upton), Romo started Saturday’s game, pitching the first inning before giving way to Yarbrough in the second. Romo struck out the side, in fact. The Rays went on to win 5-3.

The Rays did it again on Sunday afternoon, starting Romo. This time, he got four outs before giving way to Matt Andriese. Romo walked two without giving up a hit while striking out three. The Angels managed to win 5-2 however.

Despite Sunday’s win, Cozart wasn’t a happy camper with the way the Rays used Romo. Via Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic, Cozart said, “It was weird … It’s bad for baseball, in my opinion … It’s spring training. That’s the best way to explain it.”

It’s difficult to see merit in Cozart’s argument. It’s not like the Rays were making excessive amounts of pitching changes; they used five on Saturday and four on Sunday. The games lasted three hours and three hours, 15 minutes, respectively. The average game time is exactly three hours so far this season. I’m having trouble wondering how else Cozart might mean the strategy is bad for baseball.

It seems like the real issue is that Cozart is afraid of the sport changing around him. The Rays, like most small market teams, have to find their edges in slight ways. The Rays aren’t doing this blindly; the strategy makes sense based on their opponents’ starting lineup. The idea of valuing on-base percentage was scoffed at. Shifting was scoffed at and now every team employs them to some degree. Who knows if starting a reliever for the first three or four outs will become a trend, but it’s shortsighted to write it off at first glance.