The Diamondbacks held a workout for free agent Vladimir Guerrero on Monday in the Dominican.
It’s Tuesday night and they haven’t announced a deal, so the safe guess is Arizona isn’t interested.
And while GM Kevin Towers didn’t completely rule the whole thing out Wednesday in a conversation with the Arizona Republic‘s Nick Piecoro, he did drop some hints that it probably won’t be happening:
“He’s still got the good hitting hands,” Towers said. “He’s in decent shape. We hit him a few fly balls. He probably took 30 or 40 swings for us. Launched 15 to 20 balls out. Not bad. But we’ve got to see if it makes sense or not.
Once CY comes back, we’re good in the outfield. If we have a fit, it might only be temporary, kind of like what we did with Wily Mo (Pena) last year.”
“CY” is center fielder Chris Young, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a bruised right shoulder. He took swings off a tee Monday and Tuesday, and could be ready to return by the end of this week.
That doesn’t leave much of a window for Guerrero, who has bad knees and is a liability in the outfield. There were rumors a few weeks back that he might consider a gig in Japan. Perhaps Vlad will now revisit that.
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.