The “the Yankees want to void A-Rod’s contract” stories are nothing more than red meat for angry fans

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The headline of this story from Andrew Marchand and Wallace Matthews is sexy: “Yankees want A-Rod’s contract voided.”  And this passage suggests a Yankees front office which is hellbent on doing so:

According to an industry source, the Yankees “are looking at about 20 different things,” including whether Rodriguez breached the contract by taking medical treatment from an outside doctor without the team’s authorization, and the possibility that he may have broken the law by purchasing controlled substances from a Miami “wellness clinic” run by nutritionist Anthony Bosch.

But read the whole article and you can tell that it’s a lost cause, and both Matthews and Marchand seem to know it too, as they note all of the obstacles to doing such a thing. Kudos to those two, actually, in that they are getting across what their sources are saying while not being unduly credulous.  Wish we saw more of that in the media.

Here’s the nut of it all, though:

Still, if Major League Baseball finds cause to discipline Rodriguez based on allegations made in a 5,400-word story published by The Miami New Times, the Yankees will try to find an escape hatch from their remaining five-year, $114 million obligation to the three-time American League MVP.

Know what happens if MLB finds cause to discipline A-Rod? He gets disciplined. Know what sets forth the discipline for a PED violation? The Joint Drug Agreement. Know what does not allow for voiding a contract for PED discipline? The Joint Drug Agreement.

Of course the Yankees want A-Rod’s contract voided. It’s a crappy contract.  They wanted Jason Giambi’s voided too and didn’t try to do it after exhausting their options.  Or at least appearing to exhaust them.  Which is what I think this really is:  red meat for the angry fans. The Yankees way of showing them and the talk radio hosts that they’re upset too and, man, how bad that A-Rod guy is.

But they know they can’t void the deal. There are no grounds to do so and no mechanism to do so.  But as long as this makes someone feel better for a while I suppose it’s OK.

 

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.