I stuck up for Aramis Ramirez when Cubs analyst and former teammate Todd Hollandsworth criticized his lack of a leadership role on a radio show Friday. I’m sort of regretting that now.
Asked to respond to Hollandsworth’s comments by the Chicago Sun-Times, Ramirez came up with this:
One thing I got to say is I’ve never seen him in the clubhouse, so I don’t know how he comes up with that. He should ask the young guys before he makes that kind of statement. Talk to Barney, talk to Castro, and see what they say. That’s all I’ve got to say.
Oh, and one [more] thing I’d like to say: I wouldn’t trade my career for his. I think I’ve got a way better career than he did.
Well, duh. But why go there, Aramis? Hollandsworth never put his playing career up against yours. No one has.
But now that you have, here’s a truth: major league teams still wanted Hollandsworth around long after he was through as a productive regular. We’ll see if the same is true of you in a few years.
If you still can’t get enough of this story, Hollandsworth followed up on his Ramirez radio comments on Comcast SportsNet prior to Ramirez’s response last night. CSN Chicago has the video.
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.