Orioles “going hard” after Brewers ace Zack Greinke

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There will be no shortage of teams interested in Zack Greinke if the Brewers make him available before the July 31 trade deadline and Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles are already “going hard” after the former Cy Young winner.

Connolly spoke to a an unnamed MLB executive from a non-Baltimore team and writes that “the Orioles appear to be the most aggressive suitor” for Greinke, although it’s not a guarantee that the Brewers end up trading him if they can get a long-term contract extension done in the next couple weeks.

Baltimore can certainly use the rotation help, as Jason Hammel and Wei-Yin Chen have been the Orioles’ only dependable starters and yet they’re still in second place in the AL East at 44-38.

Any trade would presumably have to bring back more value to the Brewers than a pair of draft picks, which they could get as compensation for Greinke leaving as a free agent. He’s making $13.5 million in the final year of a deal signed with the Royals and is 25-8 with a 3.54 ERA in 45 starts for the Brewers since they parted with Jake Odorizzi, Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, and Jeremy Jeffress to get him in December of 2010.

Baltimore has a pair of truly elite prospects in Dylan Bundy and Manny Machado, but the Orioles would be crazy to make either available for a half-season of Greinke and Connolly speculates that they may lack the second-tier prospects to entire the Brewers.

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.