Chris Carpenter, John Danks among winless starters

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11 pitchers had made at least five starts this year and are still looking for their first victories.  Here’s the list:

Jeff Francis (Royals) – 0-4, 5.09 ERA in eight starts
Tim Stauffer (Padres) – 0-1, 2.61 ERA in seven starts
John Danks (White Sox) – 0-5, 3.83 ERA in seven starts
Chris Carpenter (Cardinals) – 0-2, 4.19 ERA in seven starts
Madison Bumgarner (Giants) – 0-5, 4.21 ERA in seven starts
Jo-Jo Reyes (Blue Jays) – 0-3, 5.00 ERA in seven starts
Joe Saunders (Diamondbacks) – 0-4, 5.72 ERA in seven starts
Brad Bergesen (Orioles) – 0-4, 5.57 ERA in six starts (one relief)
Mat Latos (Padres) – 0-4, 4.55 ERA in five starts
Ubaldo Jimenez (Rockies) – 0-2, 5.88 ERA in five starts
Nelson Figueroa (Astros) – 0-3, 9.00 ERA in five starts (two relief)

As the Toronto Globe & Mail points out, Reyes has gone 25 starts without a win since 2008. He’s 5-18 lifetime in 44 starts and four relief appearances.

Stauffer is the most unfortunate guy here. He was finally in line for his first win Friday after pitching 6 2/3 scoreless innings and leaving with a 3-0 lead, but Heath Bell, with a lot of help from an ugly Chase Headley error, blew a save for the first time in 42 opportunities. He’s allowed two runs or fewer in six of his seven starts.

Carpenter also deserves special mention for going winless for a first place team. The former 21-game winner has pitched just well enough to lose. His two best starts this season came in games where St. Louis managed just one run, and his two worst coincided with the Cardinals’ two offensive outbursts (an 8-7 loss to the Marlins on May 4 and a 13-8 loss to the Diamondbacks on April 12).

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.