UPDATE: Mariners planning to offer nine years, $225 million to Robinson Cano

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UPDATE: The Mariners may not have offered $200 million to Robinson Cano yet, but it sounds like it’s going to happen before long.

David Waldstein of the New York Times and CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman are both reporting that the Mariners plan to offer nine years and $225 million to Cano. This is a slightly different number than what was reported by Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes earlier this afternoon, but it’s still likely higher than where the Yankees are willing to go.

Nine years and $225 million would give Cano an AAV (average annual value) of $25 million, tying him with Ryan Howard, Josh Hamilton, and Felix Hernandez for the fifth-highest in MLB history.

6:36 p.m. ET: Don’t rule out Robinson Cano’s return to the Yankees just yet.

Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes made some waves earlier this afternoon when he reported that Robinson Cano was on a plane to Seattle and that the Mariners were willing to bid $230-240 million over 10 years in order to sign him. However, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal hears that no such offer has been made. At least not yet.

In other words, Cano is aiming to land the same contract that Albert Pujols received from the Angels (10 years, $240 million) two offseasons ago. Only two deals in MLB history have been richer, both of them for Alex Rodriguez, first with the Rangers in December of 2000 ($252 million) and later with the Yankees in December of 2007 ($275 million). The Mariners are obviously interested in making a big splash this winter, but they’ll likely have to blow the Yankees out of the water to have a chance. $240 million would probably do just that, but we’re not sure it’s actually on the table.

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.