Report: Bradley talks involve Blue Jays, Mets, Rays

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FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal said Monday that the Cubs and Mets have discussed a deal that would send Milton Bradley to New York for Luis Castillo and then onto Toronto for Lyle Overbay.
Rosenthal believes such a deal is a long shot, since the Jays don’t appear to be interested in a one-for-one trade. Perhaps that would change if the Cubs sent enough money along with Bradley.
Rosenthal also reported that the Rays have put a Pat Burrell-for-Bradley deal on the table, though they would want the Cubs to pick up a substantial portion of the $12 million that Bradley will make in 2011. Both Burrell and Bradley are due $9 million next year, but Burrell will then become a free agent.
As for the three-team deal, it’d only seem to make sense for the Jays if the Cubs kicked in most of Bradley’s 2011 salary. Castillo, who will earn $12 million for two years, has to be viewed as a bit more valuable than Bradley at $21 million. Overbay, at $7 million for one year, has more value than either.
The Mets would see Overbay as a nice one-year option at first base while they wait on prospect Ike Davis. They should be able to find a cheaper stopgap at second than they would at first, though it’s also possible that they could make Orlando Hudson a multiyear offer to fill that spot.
The Cubs have room for Castillo at second base and at the top of their order, but there’s been some talk of moving Ryan Theriot off shortstop. He’s below average there, and a Castillo-Theriot double-play combination would be less than stellar.
Bradley would make a lot of sense for the Jays at a modest price. Toronto needs some more upside in its offense, and the DH spot would be available for him. In the unlikely event of a trade, the Jays would probably put Adam Lind at first base. Bradley could play some outfield, but the club would still need a right fielder to replace Alex Rios.

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.