MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger reports that the Twins have traded starter Kevin Correia to the Dodgers for a player to be named later. Left-hander Tommy Milone has been recalled from Triple-A Rochester to take Correia’s spot in the rotation.
Correia, 33, struggled in 23 starts, accruing a league-leading 13 losses with a 4.94 ERA and a 61/32 K/BB ratio over 129 1/3 innings. The Dodgers, however, just lost Josh Beckett for the season. Though they recently acquired Roberto Hernandez from the Phillies, they are still thin on starting pitching depth. Correia is eligible for free agency after the season, when the two-year, $10 million deal he signed with the Twins in December 2012 expires.
The Twins acquired Milone from the Athletics at the trade deadline in exchange for outfielder Sam Fuld. In his only start with Rochester, Milone allowed a run on six hits and a pair of walks while striking out three over seven innings. He made 16 starts at the big league level for the Athletics, posting a 3.55 ERA with a 61/26 K/BB ratio in 96 1/3 innings. Milone will start on Monday for the Twins, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.
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.