Searching for empathy … searching for empathy … nope, can’t find any:
Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said he was disappointed that his club didn’t at least get a chance to “have a conversation” before Hamilton accepted any deal … “there was a relationship over time. I thought we understood that we had a chance to at least have a conversation.”
Thing about that relationship over time: it afforded you months, if not years, prior to the end of the 2012 baseball season to offer a contract extension to Hamilton without him being able to talk to anyone else. And nothing at all prevented you from talking to Hamilton since the end of the season until yesterday. Yet you never had any sense of urgency about that. Here’s Daniels two weeks ago:
“I think the way that we have chosen to proceed here is that we’re not necessarily driving the timetable. There may come a time when we need to change that, but so far it’s been fine.”
And during the Winter Meetings, when Hamilton was reported to have had serious conversations with the Mariners, Daniels did not meet with Hamilton — who actually went to Nashville personally — or his agents:
The Rangers are also ready to make an offer to Hamilton although Daniels has not yet met with agent Mike Moye since arriving in Nashville on Sunday. Daniels said he’s not sure if he will meet with Moye before the meetings end on Thursday.
“We may, but we don’t have anything set in stone,” Daniels said.
You snooze, you lose, Jon. And you snoozed. Which means that if you really wanted Josh Hamilton back, you blew it.
And if you didn’t truly want him back and had no intention of matching a five year, $125 million offer, you’re just grandstanding here in order to get your very angry fans to be mad at Hamilton, not you and Nolan Ryan. Which is pretty freakin’ weak.
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.