Jim Fregosi: 1942-2014

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Six-time All-Star and NL Pennant-winning manager Jim Fregosi has died at a Miami hospital. He was 71.

Fregosi suffered multiple strokes while on an MLB alumni cruise last weekend. After being stabilized in the Cayman Islands, he was airlifted to Miami on Wednesday night. He was taken off life support yesterday afternoon and died at 2:30 this morning. Tracy Ringolsby reports that Fregosi’s wife Joni, his daughters Nikki, Lexy and Jennifer, and sons Robert and Jim were by his side as he passed away.

Fregosi was an expansion-draft selection of the Los Angeles Angels in 1960 and became that team’s first star. He was a six-time All-Star as a shortstop over the course of his 18-year career, playing for the Angels, New York Mets, Texas Rangers and Pittsburgh Pirates. He finished his career with a line of .265/.338/.398. In the low-offensive era in which he played, that worked out to a 113 OPS+ which is excellent for a shortstop.

Fregosi’s managing career had him at the helm of the Angels, White Sox, Phillies and Blue Jays. Overall he was 1028-1094 with an AL West title in 1979 and an NL Pennant with Philly in 1993.  For the past 13 years he has been an assistant to the general manager for the Atlanta Braves, where he was primarily a scout. His son Jim Jr. is a major league scout as well.

Farewell to one of the games more overlooked, but most respected, stars.

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.