Saltalamacchia '50-50' for season-ending surgery

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Jarrod Saltalamacchia revealed yesterday that he’s “50-50” to undergo season-ending surgery after leaving a minor-league rehab game over the weekend with reoccurring numbness in his right arm.
Saltalamacchia has been diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome, which is described as “a rare condition” that involves a rib pressing against a nerve in his shoulder and causing the pain in his arm that landed him on the disabled list in mid-August.
“I’m not giving up,” Saltalamacchia said. “I tried 15 days and it didn’t get better. It got better but not to the point where I can play nine innings.”
Prior to the injury he hit just .236/.293/.375 with an ugly 96/22 K/BB ratio in 83 games, and the former top prospect’s lack of development is a big part of why the Rangers’ once-impressive catching depth has gone from strength to weakness this season.
Ivan Rodriguez and Taylor Teagarden have split time behind the plate since Saltalamacchia landed on the shelf, but he’s still just 24 years old and if healthy will definitely have a chance to reclaim the starting job next spring. However, the success rate for thoracic outlet syndrome surgery is said to be only 50-80 percent.

Kevin Kiermaier on Rays’ recent moves: “I am 100 percent frustrated and very upset.”

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On Sunday, we heard from former Ray and current Giants third baseman Evan Longoria. The Rays recently traded pitcher Jake Odorizzi to the Twins for a prospect and designated All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment, which didn’t make a whole lot of sense outside of a cost-cutting perspective. Longoria said, “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base.”

Today, we’re hearing from a current Ray: center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, who is set to enter his fifth full season with the club. Via Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, Kiermaier said, “I am 100 percent frustrated and very upset with the moves. No beating around the bush. It’s one of those things that makes you scratch your head, you don’t know the reasoning why. And then you see the team’s explanation and still it’s just like, okay, well, so be it.”

Longoria — formerly the face of the franchise — was traded to the Giants in December and the Rays continued to subtract with their recent moves involving Odorizzi and Dickerson. Odorizzi has a career 3.83 ERA in what has been a solid, if unspectacular, career. Dickerson put up an All-Star season, posting an .815 OPS with 27 home runs in 150 games. Moving either player was not done to fix a positional log jam. In fact, with Odorizzi out of the picture, the Rays are planning to use a four-man starting rotation for the first six-plus weeks of the season, Topkin reported on Sunday. Dickerson’s ouster simply opens the door for Mallex Smith, who posted a .684 OPS last year, to start every day in the outfield.

The Rays got markedly worse after going 80-82 last season. They saved a few million bucks jettisoning Odorizzi and Dickerson. And Rays ownership still wants the public to foot most of the bill for their new stadium.

When it was just one small market team pinching pennies, it was fine. But now that more than half of the league has adopted penny-pinching principles popularized by Moneyball and Sabermetrics (with the Rays among the chief offenders), the game of baseball has become markedly less fan- and player-friendly. This offseason has been less about players signing contracts and changing teams in trades — which helps build excitement and intrigue for the coming year — and more about front offices doing math problems concerning the $197 million competitive balance tax threshold and other self-imposed monetary restraints. Fun. Kiermaier is right to be upset and he’s very likely not alone in feeling that way.