Nolan Ryan now controls the Rangers

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Well, for all practical purposes he has controlled them for a long time, but as of today it became official, with the other owners approving his elevation at the Owners’ Meetings.  The official press release:

Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig announced today that the Major League owners have formally approved the designation of Nolan Ryan as the control person of the Texas Rangers.  The Major League Clubs voted during today’s quarterly owners meetings at Major League Baseball’s New York headquarters.  Each Major League Club has a designated control person who is accountable to Major League Baseball for the operation of the Club and for the Club’s compliance with the rules of Baseball.

[in Major League Baseball’s offices, circa Nineteen dickety-two or whenever it was current ownership rules came into effect]

MLB Dude 1: Hey, with all of the multi-member ownership groups these days we probably need a way to make sure we know who speaks for the clubs.

MLB Dude 2: Yeah, you’re right. What if we have two 50% stakeholders in a team disagreeing about something and we don’t know whose vote to accept?

Dude 1: Exactly. Let’s let them sort it out amongst themselves. For our purposes, we should have one person who is, in effect, in control.

Dude 2: Good idea. We can call it “the Control Guy.”

Dude 1: Well — and I know this sounds insane — but now that the Nineteenth Amendment has passed, it’s possible that one day a woman may be in charge of a club.

Dude 2: You think? How could that happen? Do they have voting and property rights now?

Dude 1: They’ve always had property rights. We’ve just systematically kept them from exercising them fully via our white male hegemony.

Dude 2: Oh yeah. Reminds me: I didn’t get the minutes from last month’s hegemony meeting. Can you get me a copy?

Dude 1: Sure. In the meantime, let’s just call it “Control Person,” because the last thing we need is Alice Stone freakin’ Blackwell crawling up our backsides.

Dude 2: Great. “Control Person” sounds kind of corny, but it’s just a placeholder. We’ll come up with another, more appropriate and official sounding title later.

Dude 1: Agreed. Now, how do we keep the Irish from owning teams?  I just heard that one “Cornelius McCourt” is interested in purchasing the Brooklyn club …

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.