Last night the White Sox beat the Rays to snap a seven-game losing streak and before the game manager Ozzie Guillen told reporters that he’s not worried about being fired despite the slow start.
And he said it in typically amusing Ozzie fashion:
I come to work, put a smile on my face, talk to you guys and do my manager’s job and go home and cry. In front of you guys, I’m fine, I’m cool. I got a lot of money. I got a lot of work. If I’m not managing the White Sox, I will manage somewhere else. Maybe Mexico, Japan. I know I will manage in Venezuela. I can do a lot of great stuff in baseball.
This job might just have a title. I might go to FOX. They want me. I can do a lot of stuff. Job security, everyone who sits in this chair, all those guys out there, they are in the same boat I am. As soon as you sign the contract, you are in the hot seat. I [don’t] worry about that. That’s the last thing I even think about.
And he’s right, of course. Guillen may not be the easiest manager to work with from a general manager’s point of view, but a .527 winning percentage and a World Series title in seven-plus seasons with the White Sox all but guarantees he’d land another gig pretty quickly.
And as Guillen also noted, he’s under contract for next season:
I’ve been fired and released before. If I get fired, I can at least enjoy my $2 million or something that I’m going to get next year. I’ll do like Manny Ramirez. I’ll go to Spain for the bullfights and come back for the World Series. I don’t worry about it.
If he does get fired, we can only hope that some reality television producer decides to make a show following Guillen and Manny Ramirez around Spain. I think they could be the next Kardashian sisters.
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.