Cubs and Reds agree to Sean Marshall-for-Travis Wood swap

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Last night Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago broke the news that the Cubs and Reds were working on a trade involving Sean Marshall and Travis Wood, and now he’s reporting that the two sides have agreed to a deal “in principle.”

According to Levine the Cubs will send Marshall to the Reds for Wood and two undisclosed prospects.

Wood became more expendable after the Reds gave up a ton to get Mat Latos from the Padres and Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com wrote yesterday that Cubs president Theo Epstein had his eye on the left-hander since his days with the Red Sox.

Wood is 24 years old, cheap, under team control through 2016, and projects as a mid-rotation starter, but Marshall has been one of the league’s top setup men since moving to the bullpen full time in 2010, throwing 150 innings with a 2.45 ERA and 169/42 K/BB ratio. He certainly has the ability to close, but it’s unclear if the Reds will ask him to take over ninth-inning duties for free agent Francisco Cordero.

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.