Rangers tried to trade for J.P. Arencibia

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From MLB.com’s Rangers beat writer, T.R. Sullivan:

The Rangers had serious trade discussions with the Blue Jays about catcher J.P. Arencibia before he was non-tendered on Monday, according to industry sources.

A trade was close to being completed but the Rangers were reluctant to add another arbitration-eligible player. The Rangers were willing to do a trade if Arencibia was willing to agree to a contract that would have avoided arbitration.

Arencibia is now a free agent and Sullivan says the Rangers’ interest in bringing him aboard remains strong. The 27-year-old slugger would have earned close to $3 million through the salary arbitration process if he would have been tendered a contract by Toronto.

Arencibia owns a .212 career batting average and .258 career on-base percentage, but he’s averaged 27 homers for every 162 games since breaking into the major leagues in 2010 and the Ballpark In Arlington is kind to power swings. He could serve as a backup to catcher Geovany Soto and a part-time DH.

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.