Jason Bay still holding out hope to return this season

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It’s not all bad news for the Mets. According to Brendan Prunty of the Newark Star-Ledger, Jason Bay told reporters on Friday that he is still hoping to return this season.

“I haven’t had a headache in about a week — four or five days,” the Mets
left fielder said prior to Friday night’s game against the Phillies.
“I’ve just kind of been taking it slow. I feel great. Now it’s just
getting back into shape and not trying to do it all at once and get
yourself set back.”

He plans to start swinging a bat within the next few days, which will be his first baseball activity since going on the disabled list with a concussion at the end of July. Bay said he intends to play again this season, even if he only has the chance to play for one week.

Bay still has to get back into baseball shape, so the clock is ticking, but his sense of humor is still as sharp as ever. Here’s what he had to say when he was asked if he was going to have any issues with bright lights or loud noises at the ballpark.

“I’m OK with that stuff,” Bay said. “A lot of that wasn’t the issue. It
was more the headaches and more headaches from exertion. I’m Canadian,
so bright lights bother me anyway.”

Don’t worry, Jason. By the time the Mets finish up the season with a seven-game homestand against the Brewers and Nationals, Citi Field will probably be the quietest place on Earth.

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.