The stars came out to salute the scouts

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I didn’t realize they did this, but this went down over the weekend:

The Baseball Scouts Foundation held its annual “In the Spirit of the Game” fundraiser gala. Stars from baseball and Hollywood teamed up to raise money for the foundation, which exists to help baseball scouts in need of financial help.

That’s pretty awesome.  If you read much about scouts you realize that the bulk of the workaday scouts (a) live in their car; (b) eat horrible food; (c) make bad money; and (d) do a lot of the work that ultimately decides if a team is, you know, good or not.  It’s thankless but essential work, and the men who do it are mostly unsung. Glad to see that someone is looking out for them.

This is fun too:

Brooks Robinson, Tom Seaver, Joe Garagiola, Robin Yount, Bobby Valentine, Rene, Bill and Marcel Lachemann and Jim Fregosi were among those honored … Larry King, Rob Reiner, James Caan, Robert Wuhl and Ian Ziering were among those representing Hollywood in attendance.

Attention Hollywood: thank you for attending and committing yourself to a worthy cause, but there’s no escaping the fact that your star power is being dwarfed by that of the baseball people. Indeed, I think even half of the workaday scouts in the high-mileage cars have a higher Q-rating than Ian Ziering. And what’s with all the Lachemanns travelling together? I thought that, for national security purposes, they weren’t allowed to all be in the same place at the same time.  Kind of like how the Molinas always have to take separate planes.

I’ll never understand Hollywood and their galas.

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.