Report: Indians to sign Mark Reynolds to one-year deal

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According to the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly, the Indians and Mark Reynolds have agreed to terms, with an announcement set to come early this week.

MLB.com’s Britt Ghiroli says it’s a one-year deal worth $6 million that can reach $7.5 million with incentives.

CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman first reported the two sides were close to a deal.

Reynolds moved from third base to first last season and hit .221/.335/.429 with 23 homers and 69 RBI for the Orioles. He had his best season with the Diamondbacks in 2009, hitting .260/.349/.543 with 44 homers and 102 RBI. That was also the year he set a major league record by striking out 223 times.

The Indians were pursuing Kevin Youkilis over Reynolds, but either they grew tired of waiting on Youk or they think they can find room for both between first, third and the DH spot. While Reynolds is more valuable at first than third, Youkilis is still a capable third baseman. Youkilis is also being pursued by the Yankees.

Update: FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal thinks this takes the Indians out of the mix for Youkilis. He has the Yankees, Mariners, Dodgers and maybe others in on Youkilis.

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.