Struggling Adam Dunn talks to (and golfs with) a psychologist

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In an effort to shake a season-long slump that includes a .173 batting average and 100 strikeouts in 67 games Adam Dunn recently spent some time with a psychologist named Jeffrey Fishbein.

Here’s what Dunn told Doug Padilla of ESPN Chicago about the experience:

I talked to him a little bit. It works for different people. I don’t know if it works for me, but you know, I have talked with him and I even golfed with him. I like him. I’m not giving up, I promise you. I just need to go back to basics and quit thinking. It’s not me. I’m not a thinker. Have to quit thinking. That’s not me. I’m not a thinker. I have to see it, hit the damn thing and not make it so complicated.

“I’m not a thinker” is definitely one of my favorite out-of-context quotes of the season, but Dunn is probably right. He’s been so productive for so many seasons–topping an .800 OPS in every year of his career prior to signing with the White Sox–that I’d bet on his eventually getting on track. Whether or not that means he can be worth anything close to $56 million to the White Sox over the next four years is another issue, of course.

Asked if Fishbein is a good psychologist, Dunn replied: “I don’t know what’s a good one. Yeah, sure. I don’t know, it’s my first run-in with one.”

Fishbein probably won’t be putting that quote on any promotion materials any time soon.

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.