UPDATE: Angelos says Ripken has not offered himself to the team as a prospective employee, reports Buster Olney of ESPN.com.
“Quite simply, Cal Ripken did not offer to become part of the Oriole
organization in any secondary position, such as manager or as an
assistant to [team president] Andy MacPhail, or in some kind of support
role of MacPhail,” Angelos said. “If he wants to make such a proposal,
I’d like to hear about it.”
8:41 AM: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that that Cal Ripken Jr. met with team president Andy MacPhail about rejoining the Orioles in a front office capacity, however the idea was eventually shot down by owner Peter Angelos.
Angelos, however, nixed the idea in a separate conversation with Ripken,
telling him, according to three sources, that he did not want Ripken to
receive credit once the team returned to prominence.
Rosenthal also writes that Angelos did not want to create the perception that MacPhail was not in complete control, a view that shows how out of touch he is with the fanbase already.
Listen, this sounds like pure ego stuff to me, but if Angelos is so worried about perception, he should have been prepared for the very real possibility that if he declined Ripken’s overtures, it would eventually leak out to the press. He should also recognize that if he wants to get in a battle with Ripken — the most beloved player in franchise history — for the hearts and minds of Orioles fans, he will lose every time.
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.