As you may recall, a report in the Korea Times earlier this week quoted Shin-Soo Choo as saying that he wanted to be “transferred” to a winning team.
The report was immediately downplayed by Indians GM Chris Antonetti and later debunked by another reporter Jeeho Yoo, who said that Choo was misquoted in the piece. Now, Yoon Chul, who wrote the piece for the Korea Times, has come clean.
According to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Chul wrote the Indians and said editing problems, which omitted information, caused the confusion. Chul also said that Choo had “no idea” about the author’s use of the word “transfer” in the piece. In other words, he and/or the Korea Times made the whole thing up.
Way to kick Cleveland when they are down, guys.
This offseason will still be interesting as far as Choo is concerned. Arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter, the 28-year-old outfielder is now represented by Scott Boras. Choo is also playing for South Korea at the Asian Games. If his team wins the gold medal, the government may grant him an exemption from his two years of required military service.
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.