UPDATE: Brandon Webb won’t choose a team by today

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UPDATE: Jon Paul Morosi says that Webb is expected to decide on a team by this evening. Correction: Morosi said Webb isn’t expected to pick a team today.  I win the award for reading comprehension fail. I don’t think that changes anything in the analysis, however: the Rangers and Cubs are the front runners, but the Nats could be lurking too. And as I say below, pie continues to be better than cake.

In other news, that pie comment in the last update created a tremendous cake vs. pie debate on Twitter.  For the record, I’m Team Pie. You may feel free to like cake if you prefer, but if you do, know this: you are wrong and are probably some kind of communist.

10:05 AM: This may be the fastest update I’ve ever had, but as soon as I posted this, Ed Price of FanHouse said that Webb is not in Texas. I don’t know who’s right, but I know this: if someone reported that pie is tasty, within five minutes someone would refute the report because that’s just how things go these days.

10:01 AMThat comes from T.R. Sullivan, who reports that Webb is in Texas and is meeting with Ron Washington and pitching coach Mike Maddux.  Sullivan also relays an interesting fact of which I was not aware: the Rangers’ team physician is the guy who operated on Webb’s shoulder in 2009.

As we’ve said continuously, Webb presents a really big risk. Shoulders are way harder to deal with than elbows, and there hasn’t been much to suggest that Webb is 100%. Apart from is word anyway.  But if he’s not too pricey, whoever gets him stands a chance to reap some tremendous upside.*

*Note: I spoke with an Amish farmer this morning who owns an actual reaper. He said, yes, you can technically “reap” upside.  Not sure if I should trust his word, though, given that he told me this via text message, and I don’t think they can really do that, even if they do make great rocking chairs and cheese and stuff.

Zack Cozart thinks the way the Rays have been using Sergio Romo is bad for baseball

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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.