This is why people hate the Yankees

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This season has been a banner year for humility deficit disorder on the part of Phillies fans, but let us not forget who invented the idea that their team is entitled to everything. It’s the Yankees, folks, and it’s passages like these from the tabloid columnists — which, I might add, are reflective of a wide swath of Yankees fandom because the tabloids are nothing if not aware of their readership — that epitomize it:

So
the Yankees are sitting pretty, and the way their own pitching has
suddenly fallen into place, they may not care about which team they play
next. If Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes re going to continue to back up CC Sabathia with brilliance, maybe we can all start gearing up for a classic World Series matchup with Roy Halladay and the Phillies.

However, I have a feeling the Yankees will be watching Tuesday night
and quietly rooting for the Rangers to lose so the next time they see
Lee it will be in Tampa in February when he’s wearing their pinstripes.

In the space of two short paragraphs the Giants, Braves, Rangers and Rays are dismissed as an afterthought in this postseason, and 29 other teams are dismissed as an afterthought in the free agent market.

Is it likely that Phillies will face the Yankees in the World Series? Smart money says so.  Is there a good chance that Cliff Lee signs with the Yankees?  Of course.  But no matter what the odds are, it’s pretty damn gauche, in my mind, to assume it like that, and it’s why so many people can’t stand the Yankees and, increasingly, the Phillies.

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.