You gotta wake up pretty early in the morning to be this much of a joyless scold:
At this point, I would much rather have someone who is “no name” – but a real and qualified “baseball person” – someone trying to make his bones as a hard working GM, running the Yankees. Someone who just wants to do his job, and well, with no fanfare or excuses, rather than someone who is running around town in a wig speaking an pancake breakfasts, jumping off buildings, tending bar – and getting his picture on TV and in the papers.
Gabe Paul and Stick Michael just did their job without using it as a platform to attain celebrity status. Cashman should follow that example instead of trying to be like Billy Beane, Theo Epstein and Kenny Williams – making a “name” for himself for doing things outside of the office. Guys like John Schuerholz and Pat Gillick did it right. Cashman’s inflated sense of self-importance and need for admiration is getting old in a hurry here. I just hope the Yankees put an end to it – and soon.
And yes, the writer — Steve Lombardi of Was Watching — is fully aware that Cashman’s bartending thing was for charity. Doesn’t matter to him. I suppose he should have been trading for Roy Halladay last night or something.
If this stuff is so unsavory to Was Watching, one wonders why he’s even watching in the first place.
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.