The details of the Holliday deal

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In the excitement of the announcement of the Matt Holliday deal, the Randy Johnson retirement announcement and what was probably one of the least inspiring BCS bowl matchups in recent years, I neglected to break down the details of the Holliday contract, but they’re as follows:

  • Holliday will receive $17 million for each season from 2010-2016;
  • If he finishes in the top-10 in MVP
    balloting in 2016, a $17 million option vests for 2017. There is a $1 million buyout if the option does not vest;
  • Calling it an “option” however, may be a misnomer. There is no club discretion here: if he finishes 10th or better in the MVP voting, he gets it. I guess it could be a player option, but those of you who think that a 37 year-old Matt Holliday will be in a position to decline a check for $17 million probably need to get some professional help;
  • He
    has full no-trade protection.

All in all, it’s a guaranteed value of $120 million,  with a potential
value of $136 million. 

Personally, I would love to hear how this negotiation went.  If, say, the Cardinals had offered him six years and $90 million, what would Holliday have done?  What other team would have come in with that money?  Did they even try? We never really know how these sorts of things go, but unless we learn that some other team was really and truly bidding on Holliday — and to date we’ve had no credible reports of a competitor for his services — I’m forced to believe that the Cardinals bid against themselves. 

No matter the case, nice deal Boras. You got your guy the contract not many people thought he’d ever get. 

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.