Yankees “monitoring” free agent righty Brandon Webb

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From George King III of the New York Post comes word that the Yankees are monitoring the negotiations surrounding free agent right-hander Brandon Webb.  However, the Yanks “don’t appear to be in a hurry to do anything.”

New York is still waiting on a decision from veteran lefty Andy Pettitte, who is weighing whether to retire from the game of baseball or return for a 16th major league season.  If he decides to hang up his cleats for good and announces that decision within the next week or two, the Yanks may go hard after Webb.

For now, though, they’re simply practicing patience.

Webb hasn’t appeared in a big league game since the first week of the 2009 season because of chronic shoulder issues, but he registered a 3.30 ERA and 1.20 WHIP over 34 starts in 2008 and won the National League Cy Young Award back in 2006 with a 3.10 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 178 strikeouts in 235 innings.

The Rangers, Cubs and Nationals have also been tracking the 31-year-old right-hander.

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.