Remember last week when Chuck Greeneberg said that his visits to Cliff Lee knocked the Yankees out of the running, and how Yankees President Randy Levine called Greenberg delusional for making such a suggestion? Seems Levine was right. Here’s Heyman:
A series of interviews with several people either involved in the talks or with knowledge of them revealed the following picture:
“Delusional” may be a tad colorful, but Greenberg is likely wrong that his frequent trips moved the Rangers ahead of the Yankees, if indeed they were ever ahead. If the Rangers had a slight advantage over the Yankees, it was very likely because Lee enjoyed his time in Texas, not his visits with Greenberg. According to people in the know, the frequency of trips very likely had nothing to do with Lee’s decision at one point to counter Texas’ $120 million, six-year proposal with a request to approximate the Yankees’ $148 million, seven-year offer.
I chuckled at the “not his visits with Greenberg” line. Putting it that way makes old Chuck’s claim in the starkest relief. Lee’s a hunter and a family man. On what planet is sipping team with Greenberg in the parlor and talking business going to make him more likely to consider the Rangers?
All of that said, Levine was still being a jerk in his response to Greenberg because that whole revenue sharing = welfare business was totally beside the point and rather obnoxious.
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.