During a conversation about the Red Sox’ collapse Wednesday with ESPN’s Colleen Dominguez, David Ortiz was asked whether he would be open to joining the rival Yankees this winter as a free agent.
well-thought-out response to that question:
“That’s something I gotta think about,” Ortiz said. “I’ve been here on the Red Sox a long time, and I’ve seen how everything goes down between these two ballclubs. It’s great [in New York] from what I hear. It’s a good situation to be involved in. Who doesn’t want to be involved in a great situation where everything goes the right way?”
Ortiz just finished up a five-year contract with the Red Sox, so he’s free to sign with any club. But will the Yankees really have interest in bringing the veteran slugger aboard?
Sure, Ortiz might be able to feast on the short right-field porch at Yankee Stadium. But his versatility is a real issue, as is his age. The Yankees already need open playing time at DH next season for aging stars like Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter. Then there’s Jesus Montero, who carries defensive concerns at catcher.
Ortiz told ESPN that “there’s too much drama” right now in Boston and that he might not want to be “part of this drama for next year.” But he’s not going to be as highly coveted as he might think.
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.