UPDATE: David Ortiz accepts Boston’s arbitration offer

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9:05 p.m. EST update: According to ESPN Boston’s Gordon Edes, Ortiz has officially accepted the arbitration offer.

CSNNE.com’s Sean McAdam reports that the Red Sox have improved on their two-year, $18 million offer to Ortiz, but that the proposal still falls a bit short of $20 million. Now that Ortiz has accepted the arbitration offer, he is a signed player, though the Red Sox will have months to negotiate a one-year or multiyear deal with him before a hearing in February.

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Confirming some of Tuesday’s reports, Jon Heyman states that free agent David Ortiz is taking Boston up on its offer of arbitration, making him a signed player.

After hitting .309/.398/.554 with 29 homers and 96 RBI in 2011, Ortiz would seem to be in a great position to command a raise from last year’s $12.5 million salary, which is troubling for a Red Sox team that would prefer to avoid paying the luxury tax next year. However, it’s still possible that the two sides will work out a multiyear deal that would be more favorable to Boston. Ortiz is reportedly asking for $25 million for two years.

Ortiz’s return probably takes Boston out of the mix for Josh Willingham. The Red Sox may sign a right fielder if one falls into their laps, but pitching in the bigger priority at the moment.

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

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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.