Red Sox release statement denying allegations pitchers drank beer in dugout

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The Red Sox released a series of statements late tonight in response to a report from Joe Amorosino of WHDH-7 NBC in Boston earlier this afternoon, which claimed that pitchers Josh Beckett, John Lackey and Jon Lester drank beer in the dugout during games this season.

Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona provided a statement, as well as Beckett, Lackey, Lester and team president and CEO Larry Lucchino.

Here is the release from the team in full:

JON LESTER: “The accusation that we were drinking in the dugout during games is completely false. Anonymous sources are continuing to provide exaggerated and, in this case, inaccurate information to the media.

JOSH BECKETT: “I cannot let this allegation go without response; enough is enough. I admit that I made mistakes along the way this season, but this has gone too far. To say that we drank in the dugout during the game is not true.”

JOHN LACKEY: “There are things that went on this season that shouldn’t have happened, but this latest rumor is not true, and I felt that it was important to try to stop this from going any further.”

TERRY FRANCONA: “In 32 years of professional baseball, I have never seen someone drinking beer in the dugout.”

PRESIDENT/CEO LARRY LUCCHINO ON BEHALF OF THE BOSTON RED SOX: “Tonight our organization has heard directly from Jon, Josh, John, and former manager Terry Francona. Each has assured us that the allegation that surfaced today about drinking in the dugout during games in 2011 is false, and we accept their statements as honest and factual.

“As we continue our internal examination to fully understand what went wrong in September, 2011, we appreciate these strong and clear statements from our players.

“It is time to look forward and move forward, rather than allow a reckless, unsubstantiated accusation from ‘anonymous sources’ to mislead the public.”

And with that, hopefully we can consider this issue dead and buried.

It sure will be nice to have some a baseball game on the schedule tomorrow, huh?

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.