The Red Sox have had mixed results with former A’s coaches of late. On the one hand, there’s Terry Francona and his two World Series titles. On the other hand, there’s Curt Young, who washed out in one year with the team and went right back to his old job as Oakland’s pitching coach this year.
Now it seems the Red Sox are going to try dipping into the well again. They asked for and received permission from the Orioles to interview Rick Peterson for the job, the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo reports.
Peterson was Oakland’s pitching coach from 1998-2003 before leaving for bigger money with the Mets. His reputation took a big hit there, in large part because he was seen as a driving force behind the Scott Kazmir-for-Victor Zambrano trade. Still, he lasted four years after that before getting fired when the team cleaned house in 2008. He then spent a year as Milwaukee’s pitching coach. Let go after the 2010 season, he was out of the league in 2011. He spent 2012 as the Orioles’ director of pitching development.
While a final decision on Peterson will come from the front office, manager John Farrell figures to have plenty of input. After all, he is a former pitching coach, and he’ll be doing quite a bit of work with the pitchers, particularly in spring training. It’d seem like a must that he and his pitching coach have a very good relationship.
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.