Buster Olney tweeted a few minutes ago that the Nationals have placed first baseman Adam Dunn on waivers. As soon as he did that, a bunch of people started getting all crazy on the Twitter about Dunn being waived, what it means, etc.
But you know better than right?
You know that almost every player is placed on waivers at some point during a season, especially in August after the trading deadline, right? You know that when anyone refers to waivers at this time of the year they mean revocable waivers. As in: teams can pull the player back off waivers if the player is claimed.
You also knew that the reason for waivers is for teams to try and slip someone by every other team and that, if a player does go unclaimed by every other team — if he “clears waivers” — that he can be traded just like it was before July 31st? Of course you knew that!
You also knew that if a player is claimed and his team does not pull him back that the claiming team is stuck with the player, salary and all, right? Which is why, say, Carlos Lee will definitely clear waivers and someone like Jason Heyward will not. And which is why some teams are taking a gamble by claiming a player on waivers with the express purpose of keeping him from going to another team, right? Man, I can’t fool you! You knew all this!
Finally, you knew that if multiple teams put a claim on a guy that the team with the worst record
gets preference over teams with better records? And that all teams in the players’ own league get preference over all the teams in the opposite league? Hell, now I’m just lobbing softballs at you.
Wow, so I guess I don’t have to remind anyone not to make a big deal out of it the next time we hear that Player X has been placed on waivers, do I? It just goes without saying.
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.