The MLBPA elects its player reps

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When I had a real job my boss used to call me the “shop steward.” But that was because (a) I was lazy; and (b) he hated unions and thought that laziness was the primary trait of unions. It was a great office.

In reality, union representatives do things, all while still having to focus on their actual job.  Keep that in mind when any of these guys — just elected to union leadership for the next two years — have a little slump:

Returning to their posts as association player representatives, the highest elected positions in the union, are Curtis Granderson (Yankees) and Jeremy Guthrie (Royals). Justin Masterson (Indians) was elected alternate association player representative, joining returnee Carlos Villanueva (free agent).

Chris Capuano (Dodgers) returns as one of two pension committee representatives to serve alongside newcomer Craig Breslow (Red Sox). Returning as alternate pension committee representatives are Ross Ohlendorf (free agent) and Kevin Slowey (free agent).

You may now all bash unions in the comments, just as you do every time I write something labor-related. Just remember: Marvin Miller is now in the afterlife, and he will come back and haunt your ass if you do. Just see if he won’t.

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.