Marlins agree to one-year deal with Rafael Furcal

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UPDATE: Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports that Furcal will get $3 million plus incentives.

10:02 p.m. ET: Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel hears that Furcal will receive $3.5 million on the one-year deal in additional to playing time incentives.

9:41 p.m. ET: FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that the Marlins have signed Rafael Furcal to a one-year contract, pending a physical. No word yet on the dollar amount.

The Marlins already have Adeiny Hechavarria at shortstop, so Rosenthal hears that they plan to use Furcal as their regular second baseman in 2014. The 36-year-old has only appeared in 36 games at second base during his 13-year major league career, but the position switch might be a good idea for him at this point after he missed the entire 2013 season following Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.

Furcal hit .264/.325/.346 with five home runs, 49 RBI, and 12 stolen bases in 121 games with the Cardinals in 2012. He’s a worthwhile gamble for the Marlins, who had a weak .235/.292/.349 batting line from the second base position this past season.

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.