Kobe Bryant does study and research for A-Rod

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It was mentioned in that story about A-Rod’s knee procedure the other day that Kobe Bryant recommended the German doctor and the procedure to Rodriguez. Now there’s a bigger story about it, talking to Bryant:

“You can’t just try something just to try it,” Bryant said. “It has to make sense. It has to be something that you can back with research and study and things like that.”

And how did Bryant get information about the therapy — called Orthokine — being done in Duesseldorf?

“It’s my job to know these things,” Bryant said with a grin.

I don’t know why I find that so hilarious, but I do. I get this image of A-Rod at Bryant’s house, drinking a soda and watching MMA or something, while Bryant is in his study with a stack of medical books. Bryant comes out and lectures Rodriguez about taking care of himself and then hands him a plane ticket and the card of the doctor. Rodriguez says something like “uh, what?”  Bryant breathes deeply and firmly tells Rodriguez to go.  A-Rod says something like “Hey, U mad, bro?”  And he says it in such a way that you know he’d spell it like that if he were writing it.

OK, baseball really needs to start now.

UPDATE: If empty dumb humor about this is not good enough for you, go read Anna McDonald’s excellent report about the procedure A-Rod received over at IIATMS.

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.