The Houston Chronicle’s Zachary Levine was lucky enough to get the following quote from Astros GM Ed Wade after asking him about the trade deadline this afternoon:
“We’re going to be viewed as a land of opportunity for teams to try to improve the teams that are in contention.”
Because of the huge firestorm about to erupt when Brett Myers is put up for bids?
As usual, Wade is a year too late. Myers likely would have netted an excellent prospect had the Astros made him available a year ago when he was 8-6 with a 3.10 ERA at the deadline. Instead, Wade signed him to a two-year, $23 million extension that he’d love to pawn off on someone else now. Myers is currently 3-9 with a 4.88 ERA.
The Astros only have three veterans with much in the way of trade value — Wandy Rodriguez, Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn — and they have no one ready to step in should they trade any of them. Outside of Jeff Keppinger, they don’t even have any role players likely to attract any interest from contenders.
So, Wade is probably doomed. The Astros have the worst record in baseball, and regardless of what Wade does this summer, they’re going to be the obvious favorites to finish last in the NL Central again next year.
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.