Joe Girardi has options and leverage. Including a possible slot in the Fox booth.

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With the Yankees season over a lot of attention will be paid to A-Rod’s arbitration, which starts today, and Robinson Cano’s fre agency, which starts as soon as the playoffs are over.  But there is another loose end which is pretty darn important too: Joe Girardi.

Girardi is a managerial free agent, essentially, as he’s not under contract for 2014. Joel Sherman says that it feels like he wants to stay in New York. Buster Olney says that, while that may be true, Girardi is going to demand a significant raise to do it. Sherman adds this:

But there are real opportunities out there for Girardi. Tim McCarver’s spot in the Fox national booth is opening. Harold Reynolds and John Smoltz are perceived as strong candidates. But sources said the network loves Girardi and would strongly consider him.

He adds that the Cubs may have a managerial opening too and reminds us that Girardi is an Illinois guy, hailing from Peoria, going to Northwestern and playing for the Cubs.

Whether Girardi wants to leave the dugout for the booth or go to a rebuilding situation is an open question. But whether or not the Yankees should want him back in the Bronx shouldn’t be. He got more out of less talent this season than anyone. He has kept the clubhouse operating on an even keel despite all manner of controversy and scrutiny. He deals deftly with big egos and big media and the Yankees would be hard pressed who could do his job better than him. It’s just a matter if he wants it.

Either way, he’ll be making good money in 2014. And after a tumultuous 2013, it’s hard to say he won’t deserve it.

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.