Satire: Joe Morgan's very special advice to the Reds

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It took a few hours of digging, but HardballTalk has uncovered Joe Morgan’s first memo to GM Walt Jocketty issued under his new title as Special Adviser to Baseball Operations.
Apparently typed by the same person who used to handle his ESPN chats, it reads as follows:

Dearest Walter,
While our 2010 Reds are undoubtedly a fine team, I can’t help but remember how the 1975 Reds were 13-1 after 14 games. We have the game’s greatest manager in Dusty, so it’s time for you to go get us some players.
1. Trade Chris Dickerson to Mets for Gary Matthews Jr.
Matthews is a great defensive outfielder and he gets things done. Some guys seem to focus better when the game’s on the line. Dickerson just strikes out a lot.
2. Trade Drew Stubbs to Mariners for Ken Griffey Jr.
Griffey’s old man hit .330 with 25 homers for the 1975 Reds. The Kid’s still got it. Stats don’t tell you about heart, determination and mental attitude.
3. Trade Homer Bailey to the Rangers for Julio Borbon
No pitcher with the name Homer is ever going to be a winner. Why I remember when we went and picked up a pitcher named Woodie Fryman and we never won another World Series. Don’t downplay intangibles. Derek Jeter is the best example that you can get of a guy that helps you win championships with his intangibles. Now, Julio isn’t actually related to our old ace reliever Pedro Borbon, who had 45 saves for the 1975 Reds, but we don’t have to tell anyone that.
4. Trade for Alex Concepcion and Concepcion Rodriguez
I just asked Mark Simon and he told me there were two Concepcions playing in the minors right now. We need them both. Doesn’t matter who you have to give up, Walt. Follow my plan and we’re not going to have use for that Bruce fella anymore anyway.
You go ahead and get started on these and then we’ll see about getting some pitchers. I know you’re pretty much hopeless there after you missed out on Livan over the winter, but I have my eye on a few guys. I’m told Tommy Hanson will be starting on Sunday night, and he reminds me of a young Gary Nolan. I’ll do you a solid and talk him down a bit.
Regards,
Joe Morgan
Hall of Famer
2 World Championships
2 MVPs
5 Gold Gloves
P.S. Russ Ortiz is available. Not every day you can acquire a 20-game winner.
P.P.S. I’d just like to congratulate my daughter for winning her gymnastics competition last weekend.
P.P.P.S. None of this is real, if that wasn’t abundantly clear already.

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.