UPDATE: Muskat says that Guzman is leaning toward having surgery on the shoulder, which would surely sideline the right-hander for most — if not all — of the 2010 season.
SATURDAY, 2:40pm: Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune confirms that shoulder surgery could be career-threatening. As such, Guzman is currently mulling his options. If he rehabs the injury, it would take anywhere from four-to-six weeks before even knowing if he’ll be able to pitch.
SATURDAY, 1:50 PM: Big blow to the Chicago bullpen. Carrie Muskat of MLB.com writes that Guzman has a torn ligament in his right shoulder. Obviously, he won’t be ready for Opening Day. Muskat writes that the Cubs haven’t decided whether he will have surgery. Interestingly, Gordon Wittenmeyer of the Chicago Sun-Times writes that surgery could be “career threatening.”
FRIDAY, 8:34 PM: Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago passes along a quote from Lou Pinella regarding right-hander Angel Guzman, who underwent surgery on his left knee in early February, and more recently hit the shelf with a sore right shoulder:
“He comes into spring training and before you know it, first the knee
and after that it’s the shoulder,” Piniella said. “It seems like the
kid is jinxed…”
Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune goes a step further, writing that Guzman “may be cooked” for 2010 with the injury. It sounds like speculation for now, but the Cubs are currently awaiting results of an MRI on the 28-year-old.
Guzman posted a a 2.95 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in 55 appearances last season. He was expected to be a critical bridge to closer Carlos Marmol. If Guzman is sidelined for any significant period of time, the Cubs may have to juggle some arms they were considering for their rotation (Sean Marshall and Jeff Samardzija, among others).
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.