Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News reports that Buster Posey will indeed be the Giants’ everyday catcher next season. But beyond that? It’s hard to say.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy acknowledged yesterday that there was some internal debate about whether Posey would be better off at a position like first base, where he could prolong his career and avoid the daily rigors of playing the most demanding position in the game. While the 24-year-old could still be moved, they aren’t ready to go there yet.
“Well, yeah. We had internal discussions,” Bochy said. “But we’re all in agreement. We need Buster behind the plate.”
“That doesn’t mean, as you look down the road, whether it’s Hector Sanchez or someone else, (a position change) is a possibility,” Bochy said. “But playing next year isn’t going to shorten his career.”
Posey continues to progress well from reconstructive surgery on his left ankle. He is currently using a pitching machine to catch from the crouch and hopes to begin catching live pitching at the in November at the Giants’ minor league complex. While he still has some hurdles to cross, the Giants are optimistic that he’ll be ready for spring training.
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.