The Mets, Orioles and Phillies are in on Fernando Rodney

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ESPN’s Jorge Arangure tweets that, while nothing is imminent, the Mets, Phillies and Orioles are “in on” Fernando Rodney.

Rodney likely wants to close as opposed to serving as someone’s setup man, which makes Baltimore and Philly better options than New York, where K-Rod has the gig. Of course, if he thinks of himself as a Closer with a capital “C” he likely wants more money than a team like Baltimore should be paying for any single bullpen arm. A winning team, like coffee, is for closers. A team that’s likely to lose around 90 games doesn’t really need one.

As for Philly: haven’t their fans had enough bullpen-induced heart attacks already?  Sure, Rodney did well last year, but he continued to be all over the place control-wise. If a butterfly flaps his wings in South America, Rodney could go from the single blown save he had last year to numbers that are positively Lidgean.

Rodney has great gas, and he’s worth a spot in someone’s pen, but I wouldn’t anoint him my ninth inning man, nor would I pay him the dollars that usually goes with that 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.