You may now update all of your old “David Wright looks funny in that big batting helmet” jokes to Francsico Cervelli, who will be donning one in New York this season after suffering his second concussion earlier this week:
Cervelli said he plans to wear the helmet at the plate all season, though he won’t wear it when catching or running the bases.
“To me it just makes sense,” said Girardi, who would make the new
helmets mandatory. “It you have something you’ve had to deal with, if
there’s some way to improve the protection or keep you maybe from being
injured again, it makes sense to use that device… It is much more
padded. It’s really unbelievable. You look at it and think ‘why don’t
more people wear it? Why doesn’t everyone wear it?'”
Yeah, on second thought, let’s just 86 the jokes, OK? Yes, the helmet looks odd, but we’re only just now starting to realize how serious concussions — especially second and third concussions — really are. Last night there were a lot of jokes among Yankees writers in the Twitterverse regarding Cervelli’s new headgear — and apparently he’s taking some mocking from his teammates too — but a guy’s health and career are no laughing matter.
If I was standing in against 95 mph heat, I’d wear a propeller hat, a mixing bowl or a church crown on my head if I thought it’d keep me safe.
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.