The Mets may make an offer to Yorvit Torrealba

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I’m not going to go with the easy joke about how the Giants saved the Mets from themselves with respect to Bengie Molina, because as Aaron’s going to say later this morning, that’s not necessarily the case. Short version: it was a bit more complicated than that, with the Mets initially (and laudably) holding the line on Molina’s early demands, and then later just an overall souring of the relationship.

I’m more interested in what the Mets will do at catcher now  The New York Times (and a lot of other places) is reporting that Minaya may make an offer to Yorvit Torrealba.  Not a bad decision from a baseball perspective I suppose. A curious one for non-baseball reasons, however:

Turning to him would be intriguing, and perhaps costly, because
Torrealba filed a continuing grievance against the Mets after they
backed out of a three-year deal with him two years ago . . . Last month, the Mets and Torrealba attended a hearing on the grievance,
conducted by the baseball arbitrator Shyam Das. A ruling is not
expected for several months.

Parties in litigation are generally encouraged not to talk to each other without counsel present, so if the Mets do sign Torrealba, expect the mound to be crowded with guys with suits and briefcases during pitching changes. A lot of “would you please tell counsel for Mr. Santana that I believe a breaking ball is more appropriate in this situation. Thank you.”

More seriously, though, if the Mets do sign Torrealba, take his contract amount with a grain of salt, because it may contain some settlement dollars.

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.