Great Moments in withholding a Hall of Fame vote

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It seems like Craig Biggio is going to be the first 3,000 hit guy to not make the Hall of Fame on his first try (non-Palmeiro division) in living memory. Seems silly, especially considering how good he was defensively and how he was no mere singles hitter. But that’s not as silly as the reasons some people are offering for not voting for him. Like George Vecsey:

Craig Biggio? He played three positions – very impressive – and has excellent longevity numbers – but was not necessarily the most feared hitter on his own team. Wait a year.

By that reasoning you wouldn’t vote for Lou Gehrig, Yogi Berra, Joe Morgan, Willie McCovey, Eddie Matthews, Gary Carter, Charlie Gerhinger and probably a dozen other guys. Derek Jeter too, for that matter. Oh, and it’s even sillier when you realize that the guy who was the most feared hitter on that team — Jeff Bagwell — isn’t up to snuff for Vecsey either.

The mental gymnastics people will go through to avoid voting for someone have gotten pretty impressive.

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.