UPDATE: Hanley Ramirez “distraught” over changing positions

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11:34 PM: And so it begins. Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post hears that Hanley Ramirez is “distraught” over the prospect of changing positions to make room for Jose Reyes.

6:25 PM: We’ve heard plenty of speculation that Hanley Ramirez could force his way out of Miami following the signing of Jose Reyes. It may happen eventually, but the Marlins appear committed to trying to make things work.

According to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria said this afternoon that he considers Ramirez “part of the plan, part of the core.” Furthermore, he expressed confidence that Ramirez will be amenable to a move to third base.

“Hanley is a super-professional,” Loria, the Marlins owner, said Monday. “We will work with him, make everything comfortable for him.”

Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com hears that Ramirez has a “strong preference” to remain at shortstop, but that he will handle the matter professionally. And it would behoove him to embrace the move if he wants to be part of a winner. But if he sulks a couple of months from now and forces a trade, the Marlins may end up taking one step forward and one step back.

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.