This wouldn’t be the trade deadline without the Yankees grabbing the headlines.
ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian is reporting that a source said “someone who should know told me that the Yankees are all over Ubaldo Jimenez.”
Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reported this morning that the Yankees were hearing the Rockies may be willing to lower their asking price, though Troy Renck of the Denver Post adds that they have little incentive to lower their demands since they don’t have to move him. Jimenez is locked up through 2014 on a very reasonable contract.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported earlier this week that the Rockies would be amenable to a deal if they received three of Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances, Jesus Montero and Ivan Nova from the Bombers. Banuelos is believed to be untouchable while Jack Curry of YES Network hears that the Yankees are insistent that they won’t give up three elite prospects in return for Jimenez.
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.