The Daily News is still pushing the “A-Rod will never play again” angle

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This is getting pathological. The New York Daily News has been pushing the idea that A-Rod will never play again angle for some time. Their thinking, as much as I can follow it anyway, is that A-Rod, in an effort to protect his legacy or his money or avoid Biogenesis punishment or … something … is going to try to portray himself as physically unable to play, sit back and collect his salary either from the Yankees or insurance companies or both.

That meme went a bit quiet for a couple weeks as A-Rod played in rehab games and actually hit home runs and stuff. Now, after A-Rod has been put on a shelf with a strained quad, it’s back again with a vengeance. Here’s John Harper:

Whether it is convenient timing for Alex Rodriguez or simply revealing of the state of his body, the quadriceps strain that showed up on an MRI on Sunday is more reason than ever to believe that A-Rod will never play for the Yankees again … If he can make that case before a suspension becomes official, Daily News’ sources say that insurance policies, either that of the Yankees’ or A-Rod’s personal policy, would allow him to keep all or most of the money he would otherwise lose.
So was he really only an unforeseen quad injury away from being activated? Or was something like this going to get in the way of him rejoining the Yankees as the time on his 20-day minor league rehab ran out?

I love conspiracy theories, but only to the extent they make a lick of sense. No, I have no idea if A-Rod will ever play again. He could get hit by a bus tomorrow. He could strain three more things and then need Tommy John surgery. His could be the first Tommy John surgery in history to be described as “unsuccessful” after it’s over by virtue of a honey badger breaking into the operating room and killing the anesthesiologist. I really have no clue.

But I do know that the Daily News’ insurance theory makes no sense as they’ve described it. A-Rod does not save any money if he’s on the DL when he gets suspended for Biogenesis (he loses salary either way). Nothing in his history or character suggests he’ll simply choose to go away with a fake medical retirement out of shame or embarrassment because he has no shame and seems incapable of it. Finally, and most importantly, the notion that the Yankees can simply make a phone call to an insurance company after what, under Harper’s theory, is a bogus quad injury and expect checks for tens of millions of dollars to start arriving is beyond laughable. The man was playing baseball games pretty effectively four days ago.

Derek Jeter strains his quad after rehab and its a quad strain. A-Rod does it and it’s a sinister plot. I shouldn’t be surprised, I suppose, but I can’t help but wondering how on Earth the Daily News publishes this stuff with a straight face.

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.