One reason to wish the Yankees were still in the playoffs

14 Comments

Like a lot of red-blooded Americans, I’m happy the Yankees got beat in the first round. Viva variety and all of that. Let Fox and TBS fixate on some other teams for a change.

But a side effect of that is that a bunch of New York reporters now have nothing to do except to come up with silly trade and free agent ideas, and I’m just not ready for that kind of thing until at least mid-November.

The latest: John Harper of the Daily News playing the “it would never happen but what if the Yankees signed Prince Fielder” game:

Or would the Yankees be better off paying huge money for Fielder, whose lefthanded swing just might produce 50 home runs a year with the help of Yankee Stadium, and using Jesus Montero to trade for pitching? I know, I know, I advocated for keeping Montero in my look-ahead column a few days ago, and I do think the Yankees should find out what he can do for them. But the point is, you can’t rule out the possibility that Fielder could wind up a Yankee, slotting in between Robinson Cano and Alex Rodriguez as a full-time DH.

I suppose anyone could end up a Yankee.  I just don’t see Bud Selig hammering through a rule change that would allow that team to have multiple first basemen and designated hitters play every game for the next six or seven years.

Oh well. Hot stove season is coming. It’s never too early to start girding yourself against the loony stuff we’re going to encounter over the winter.

Zack Cozart thinks the way the Rays have been using Sergio Romo is bad for baseball

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
11 Comments

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.