Mets right-hander Bartolo Colon is eligible to be traded anywhere after clearing revocable waivers and the Angels need rotation help following injuries to Garrett Richards and Tyler Skaggs, but don’t expect the two sides to work out a deal.
Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that Colon “does not appear to be a fit for the Angels because of his age (41) and a contract that guarantees him $11 million in 2015.”
DiGiovanna notes that the Angels already have a projected payroll of $170 million for next season and do no want to surpass the $189 million luxury tax threshold.
If the Mets were to eat a sizable chunk of his $11 million salary for 2015 that could change the situation considerably, but unless that happens it doesn’t sound like Colon will end up with the Angels despite having a 3.26 ERA and excellent strikeout-to-walk ratio in 510 innings since 2012.
Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $150,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Tuesday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $20,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on Tuesday. Here’s the FanDuel link.
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.