UPDATE: The Dan Haren-for-Carlos Marmol swap is not happening

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UPDATE: Oh boy. Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com was told by a source that the deal is off.

Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com hears that Carlos Marmol would have signed off on the trade, but the Cubs pulled the deal off the table for some reason. It could be because of the money involved or the medicals or maybe because Theo Epstein felt bad for pulling a fast one on Dipoto. In any case, the Angels are now talking to other teams and must decide by midnight ET whether to exercise Haren’s $15.5 million option for 2013. They could hypothetically pick up the option and trade him at a later date.

9:43 PM: As Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com notes, the hold-up isn’t because the Angels got cold feet, but rather because the Cubs are waiting on Carlos Marmol to waive his no-trade clause. If he agrees to join the Angels, Dan Haren will go to the Cubs.

This is a strange development, as Marmol’s comments to Dominican newspaper El Caribe earlier tonight (via Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com) made it sound like he was on board and the trade was a foregone conclusion. Apparently not.

9:30 PM: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com is also hearing that the deal isn’t done and that the Angels continue to talk to other teams. The clock is ticking, though.

8:53 PM: Hold your horses, everybody. According to Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com, reports of a deal are premature and the Angels are still in active discussions with more than one team.

For what it’s worth, Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times writes that one potential hold-up of the trade is that the Angels and Cubs are waiting for approval from MLB because of the money being exchanged. In other words, don’t assume this deal is dead. Still, this could be a long night.

8:15 PM: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com writes that the Angels could contribute all or part of Haren’s $3.5 million buyout. Wait, shouldn’t the Cubs be covering part of Marmol’s salary here? Epstein may have pulled a heck of a Jedi mind trick on Jerry Dipoto.

7:59 PM: Dan Haren said earlier this week that he expected to be traded before tonight’s midnight deadline on his $15.5 million club option for 2013. Not only is he being traded, but there’s an interesting twist involved.

Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times and Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago are reporting that the Angels have traded Haren to the Cubs for Carlos Marmol. Yancen Pujols was first to report that Marmol was involved in a trade.

No word yet on how much money will exchange hands or if other players will be involved. Marmol is set to make $9.8 million next season. Meanwhile, the Angels were prepared to buy out Haren’s option for $3.5 million if they couldn’t find a trade partner.

Getting Haren is a major coup for Theo Epstein and company, even coming off a down season where he posted a 4.33 ERA over 30 starts while showing diminished velocity and dealing with a back issue. If he can rebound, the Cubs could flip him for a pretty nice haul at the trade deadline next year.

As for Marmol, the erratic right-hander is coming off a season where he posted a 3.42 ERA, 20 saves and a 72/45 K/BB ratio over 55 1/3 innings. Most expected the Angels to be in the market for a closer this offseason, but that may no longer be the case with Marmol and Ernesto Frieri in-house. That would take away one potential destination for Rafael Soriano.

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.