Marlins sign Kevin Kouzmanoff to minor league contract

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According to Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Marlins have signed Kevin Kouzmanoff to a minor league contract. He’ll get an invite to big league camp in spring training.

If you haven’t heard Kouzmanoff’s name much recently, there’s a reason for that. The 31-year-old played exclusively in the minor leagues this season after failing to make the Royals out of spring training. Limited to just 90 games due to injury, he batted .276/.309/.382 with two home runs, 46 RBI and a .691 OPS over 355 plate appearances between Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha.

Kouzmanoff’s career has tumbled since he was traded from the Padres to the Athletics in January of 2010, but assuming the Marlins don’t make any major additions, he could get a chance to compete for the third base job during spring training.

Rays to start relievers in all three games of weekend series with Orioles

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays will start a reliever in each of the three games of the club’s weekend series at home against the Orioles. Sergio Romo will start Friday, Ryne Stanek will start Saturday, and Romo will start again Sunday. The Orioles’ starters are TBA at the moment.

This continues the trend that drew attention last weekend, resulting in Angels third baseman calling the strategy “bad for baseball.” I wrote about the potential labor impacts of this strategy as well. The Rays did it against the Angels because they had a right-hander-heavy top of the lineup and didn’t want lefty Ryan Yarbrough to have to face that top of the lineup three times.

The O’s have a righty-heavy top of the lineup as well, as various combinations of Trey Mancini, Adam Jones, Manny Machado, and Jonathan Schoop have batted 1-2-3-4 for most of the season. Romo has limited right-handers to a .702 OPS this season.