Buster Posey may actually get to play a little

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Giants’ catcher Bengie Molina got smacked in the left hand by a foul tip yesterday and had to leave the game.  Bruce Bochy put Eli Whiteside in.  Whiteside can’t hit. Neither can Molina for that matter.  Buster Posey raked all season in the minor leagues, yet has only been given three (3) plate appearances since his callup at the beginning of the month. This all makes sense to Bochy, I assume, but he hasn’t really explained it.

One would think that with Molina down and the Giants almost certainly out of the wild card race, Bochy would finally give Posey a start or at least some playing time.  I’d bet dollars to donuts that Whiteside starts tonight, however, because Bochy has absolutely no trust whatsoever in the Giants’ best hitting prospect since Matt Williams.

But like I said, the Giants are done so maybe it doesn’t matter.  The real question is what they plan to do next year.  If they have a lick of sense they will start with the assumption that Buster Posey will be the starting catcher.  They will do so because they will realize — in hindsight, but still — that if they had had even a lick of hitting in 2009 they would have likely made the playoffs on the back of their superior pitching staff.

If they don’t — and if, instead, they spend the money that should go to a big bat on a Bengie Molina extension and relegate Posey to AAA once again — you can pretty much kiss off their chances for another year.

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.