Kendrys Morales has absolutely zero concept of rust

15 Comments

After re-signing with the Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew went 1-for-14 and then injured his oblique muscle, but the other Scott Boras client who sat out the first two months of the season before finally signing, Kendrys Morales, is showing zero signs of rust.

Morales agreed to a one-year, $7.6 million deal with the Twins on Saturday, was immediately added to the active roster without first going on a minor-league rehab assignment, and is now 6-for-12 with three doubles through three games (with another at-bat likely still this afternoon).

Minnesota already had a pretty good designated hitter option in Josmil Pinto, but manager Ron Gardenhire was hesitant to use him at DH regularly because the 25-year-old rookie is also the Twins’ backup catcher. Now that Morales is the full-time DH it sounds like Pinto will be headed back to Triple-A. And so far at least no one minds, because Morales is hitting .500 and clearing the bases with game-breaking doubles.

Zack Cozart thinks the way the Rays have been using Sergio Romo is bad for baseball

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
6 Comments

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.