On Monday night Omar Vizquel tied Luis Aparicio for second all-time in hits by a shortstop. Last night Vizquel said that could very well be the last milestone he hits and that he may very well retire after the season. He’s not yet committing one way or the other, but he did say that “this is probably going to be it.”
If so, nice career. As I said yesterday, not a Hall of Fame career in my mind, but a really, really nice one. Actually, in the comments to yesterday’s Vizquel post my buddy Joe L. more or less captured my thoughts:
As a longtime Friend of the Feather and unabashed Vizquel fan, I feel
qualified to opine that he is plainly NOT a Hall of Famer.
He’s a classic your-favorite-player-as-a-kid ballplayer because he’s
flashy with the leather, hits a little, and, more than anything,
plainly loves playing baseball. Which is infectious and endearing, but
is not necessarily the hallmark of a HOFer (see, e.g, Cobb, Ty).
He’s your #1 inductee into Hall of Very Good and Hall of Fun
Ballplayers and Hall of Quick Middle Infielders, but no more than that. I would love it if he got in, not only because of his days with the
Tribe, but also because I’m a sucker for quick, flashy ballplayers like
Aparicio and Ozzie. Davey Concepcion is my favorite player of all time
for the love of crumbcake. But, frankly, he
shouldn’t be in either.
Which is a crying shame, but it’s not the Hall of Good Guys, and it’s
filled with bums who were much better than Omar and Davey, and that’s
just the way it is.
For the love of crumbcake, indeed.
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.