Depending on who you believe, the Rangers have offered Vald Guerrero either $5 million or $7 million. According to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com, however, it doesn’t really matter as “one source said Guerrero wasn’t particularly happy with the Rangers offer.”
Let’s say it’s $5 million. That’s what Bobby Abreu got to be Vlad’s teammate in Anaheim last year coming off a way better season in 2008 than Guerrero is coming off of now. Oh, and Abreu plays defense.
Hideki Matsui got $6 million, but he’s a better hitter at this point in his career than Vlad is, and he certainly represents the ceiling for DH signings this year. More on point is Jack Cust, who just got $2.5 million from the Athletics, and he too had a better 2009 than Guerrero. The Royals aren’t done yet so we can’t say this with 100% certainty, but I’m at least 99% sure that there is no free agent DH who is going to get more than $5 million between now and spring training.
So go ahead and be angry, Vlad. But then suck it up, take the deal, mash the hell out of the ball in the Ballpark at Arlington all summer and get paid more next year. That’s how it works when your bat slows down and you can’t play defense anymore.
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.