Red Sox could save $2.2 million by releasing Alfredo Aceves

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Alfredo Aceves is doing his best to build a terrible relationship with a second straight Red Sox manager, but so far at least there are no reports of Boston being fed up enough to part ways with the reliever.

However, like all arbitration-eligible players who signed one-year deals to avoid a hearing Aceves’ contract is not fully guaranteed.

If released by March 13 the Red Sox would owe Aceves just one-sixth of his deal, which would take them off the hook for $2.2 million of his $2.65 million salary. And if the Red Sox waited a little longer and released Aceves by March 27 they’d owe him one-fourth of the money, saving $1.9875 million.

Over the years there are a few cases of a team releasing a signed player under those rules, but it’s definitely not a common occurrence. Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com speculates that trading Aceves is a more likely option because he probably still has enough value to either get something in return or at least shed his entire salary.

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.