It would have been tough for Carl Pavano’s four-year stay in New York to go any worse and he’s one of the most hated players in Yankees history, yet after missing out on Cliff Lee general manager Brian Cashman offered him a one-year deal to return.
Even more surprising? Pavano told Kelsie Smith of the St. Paul Pioneer Press that he gave serious thought to another stint in New York.
Ultimately there wasn’t much of a decision to be made, as the Twins offered him a two-year, $16.5 million deal while the Yankees’ offer was reportedly for one season and $10 million, but had Minnesota not stepped up their pursuit Pavano seems to think he would have been fine in New York and New York would have been fine with him. Well, maybe:
I don’t think [the past] would be a hindrance, but there would have definitely been obstacles. I’m not naïve enough to think that there wouldn’t have been things I would have had to overcome, especially the trust of the fans and maybe some of the guys that were there [when I was]. That’s reality.
I’m sure Yankees fans would eventually have warmed up to Pavano, at least somewhat, had he come out of the gates with a 2.50 ERA through two months or something, but short of that it likely wouldn’t have been pretty. He’d have been booed by the home crowd from the moment he stepped on the mound at Yankee Stadium, every bad inning would have been treated like a disaster, any injury would have been endlessly lampooned, and the “American Idle” nickname would have been constantly plastered all over newspapers.
Could he have overcome all that to have a solid season? Maybe, but I can’t imagine the Yankees or Pavano actually wanting to find out.
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.