Carlos Quentin and Huston Street are two of the most popular trade chips around, so the assumption has been that the Padres will deal them before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Not so, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
According to Heyman, the Padres now want to sign both Quentin and Street to multi-year deals. Both players have expressed a desire to stay in San Diego, because, well, who the heck wouldn’t if the price is right? And while the ownership situation is unsettled at the moment, current owner John Moores and presumptive new owner Ron Fowler have given the OK to try to sign them.
Every report must be taken with a grain of salt at this time of year, so it’s possible the Padres are floating this out there in order to raise the asking price among prospective suitors. Quentin is a San Diego native, so the Padres may feel some extra incentive to get something done with him, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right course of action for a franchise in rebuilding mode.
Quentin, an impending free agent, is batting .268/.394/.512 with eight home runs, 21 RBI and a .905 OPS in 37 games played this season. Street has compiled a microscopic 1.07 ERA and 34/8 K/BB ratio over 25 1/3 innings this season while going a perfect 15-for-15 in save opportunities. His contract includes a $500,000 buyout on a $9 million mutual option for 2013.
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.