I’m having a hard time thinking of any jobs short of commissioner that Frank Robinson hasn’t held with Major League Baseball. Well, he’s got another one. Jimmie Lee Solomon’s old gig:
Hall of Famer Frank Robinson has been appointed Major League Baseball’s Executive Vice President of Baseball Development, Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig announced today.
In his new role, Robinson will lead the management of MLB’s Urban Youth Academies in Compton, Houston and Puerto Rico, as well as the development of future sites in New Orleans, Hialeah (FL) and Philadelphia. Robinson also will be responsible for overseeing the Civil Rights Game and the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game.
Robinson managed the Indians, Giants, Orioles, Expos and Nationals. He was the Orioles’ assistant GM for a spell. He has also been the Vice President of On-Field Operations, the Special Advisor to the Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations, a Special Assistant to the Commissioner, a Senior Vice President for Major League Operations and has served on Bud’s Special Committee for On-Field Matters since it began.
Really, they ought to just start listing the stuff he hasn’t done with MLB. It’ll make the press releases shorter.
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.