Billy Koch got into some trouble over the weekend

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Former big leaguer Billy Koch was arrested over the weekend on criminal mischief and battery charges after getting into a wild incident with his neighbor in Florida.

Details on how the whole thing got started seem somewhat sketchy, but
apparently 48-year-old Luis Camacho “pushed” Koch’s stepson while they
were both in the street at 2:00 a.m., at which point Koch’s wife “came
running out of the house, screaming and spitting at him.” Koch was not
far behind, and that’s when things got crazy:

The altercation began near the Koch residence and moved to Camacho’s
driveway nearby as Camacho and his son retreated. According to
statements by the Koches, Camacho and several witnesses, Camacho
grabbed a bat to defend himself and when it was taken away, grabbed a
spade shovel. Camacho pushed Brandi Koch to the ground and swung at
Billy Koch while his son lowered their garage door. Billy Koch landed a
punch on Camacho, splitting his lip, the report shows. The injury
required seven stitches.

Billy Koch stopped the garage door from closing one time by striking
it with the bat. As the door lowered the second time, Koch turned and
began hitting a car that belonged to Melvin Habrat. Based on witness
statements and evidence at the scene, it was determined the Koches were
the primary aggressors while Camacho responded in self-defense, the
report shows. “My son was there and that really bothers me,” Camacho
said. “It’s bad enough I swung a bat and hit him [Koch] with a shovel.
It still just bothers me.”

Normally “it’s bad enough I swung a bat and hit him with a shovel”
would be the award-winning quote from just about any incident, but not
here. My favorite? “I’ve lived here two years,” Camacho said. “First
time I ever laid eyes on the man was as he was trying to crush my
skull.” Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner!

Koch has the fifth-most saves in baseball history through the age of
27, last pitched at the age of 29, and is now making headlines for
skull-crushing at the age of 34. For anyone interested in studying
relief pitchers, his is a somewhat atypical career path.

Evan Longoria: ‘I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base’

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The Rays were busy over the weekend, trading starter Jake Odorizzi to the Twins, designating All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment, and then picking up C.J. Cron in a deal with the Angels. The Rays saved about $4 million — Odorizzi’s $6.3 million less Cron’s $2.3 million salary — and picked up a prospect. They’re still on the hook for Dickerson’s $5.95 million salary until they can find a trade partner, which seems likely.

Those are some head-scratching moves if you’re a Rays fan or a member of the Rays. Dickerson hit .282/.325/.490 with 27 home runs, 62 RBI, and 84 runs scored in 629 plate appearances last season, part of which resulted in his first trip to the All-Star Game. Designating him for assignment is strictly a financial move, assuming he can be traded. The Rays are currently operating with a payroll below $70 million. This comes just a week and a half after Rays ownership proposed the public footing most of the bill for the club’s new stadium. And the Rays had traded third baseman Evan Longoria — then the face of the franchise — to the Giants earlier this offseason.

Longoria expressed sympathy for Rays fans for having to put up with this. Via Andrew Baggarly, Longoria said of the curious Dickerson move, “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base. … I’m not going to take too many shots but it’s pretty obvious that guy is a valuable player and didn’t deserve to be DFAd. Corey was our best player last year.”

Longoria isn’t quite on the money there. By WAR, Dickerson ranked fifth among position players on the team, according to Baseball Reference. FanGraphs is also in agreement. Still, it’s indisputable that Dickerson, who turns 29 years old this May, more than pulled his weight. The Rays do not have a surfeit of starting outfielders, so it wasn’t like they were making room for other capable players. Mallex Smith, who put up a .684 OPS in 282 PA last year, is slated to start in left field at the moment. Designating Dickerson for assignment, as well as trading Longoria and Odorizzi, were simply cost-cutting decisions.

The Rays’ M.O. has been part of the problem leading to the current stagnant free agent market (sans Eric Hosmer‘s eight-year deal on Saturday). Teams like the Rays, Phillies, Reds, and Tigers have been explicitly putting out non-competitive teams in order to facilitate a rebuilding process. Longoria is right to express sympathy for Rays fans, who see their favorite team worsening a roster that went 80-82 last year. The Rays haven’t finished at .500 or above since 2013 and doesn’t figure to halt the streak this year.