The Red Sox and Yankees don’t do humble well

14 Comments

Last week Brian Cashman said that the Red Sox were probably the better team on paper. Yesterday, Red Sox President Larry Lucchino downplayed that. For those of you who don’t think the Yankees-Red Sox thing isn’t icky enough, I give you “hormonal satisfaction”:

Although Larry Lucchino admitted to taking “hormonal satisfaction” from the Red Sox outdueling the rival Yankees this winter, neither the team president nor chairman Tom Werner put much stock in New York GM Brian Cashman’s remarks last week that the Sox are the better team. Werner even labeled it “reverse psychology.”

Said Lucchino: “They’re always the favorites. C’mon, they’re the New York Yankees. They’re in the biggest market in the world. We’re happy to be the guys that they worry about looking over their shoulder.

The only thing less appetizing than thinking of a baseball rivalry in terms of “hormonal satisfaction” is listening to Yankees and Red sox brass argue over who the bigger underdog is.

Oh, and in case you’re interested, Lucchino’s comments come in the course of an article about Josh Beckett being in much better shape. It wasn’t quite strong enough for a BSOML headline, but if some of you guys get hormonal satisfaction over that meme I’ve tried to beat into the ground, it may scratch the itch anyway.

Evan Longoria: ‘I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base’

Joe Scarnici/Getty Images
12 Comments

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.