Giants 14, Marlins 7: There have been times over the past couple of years when the Giants wouldn’t score 14 in a week. And when he played in New York and Atlanta, there were weeks when Melky Cabrera wouldn’t drive in four, but here we are. Angel Pagan did the same. The Marlins bullpen gave up nine runs in less than four innings.
Phillies 10, Cardinals 9: Given that the Cardinals lost, I assume that Rally Naked Guy (warning: man-butt) isn’t going to take off like the Rally Squirrel, but I like his pluck and moxie. Three RBI a piece for Shane Victorino and Freddy Galvis.
Padres 11, Mets 5: What’s gotten into these low-powered west coast teams? San Diego broke out the whuppin’ sticks too, rapping out 18 hits. Eric Stults (hmm?) gave up one run over five.
Reds 6, Braves 3: The Reds swept the Braves in a four game series and have won six in a row overall. Devin Mesoraco hit a grand slam. There were approximately 467 home runs — give or take — in this series. All of the Braves’ pitchers are likely suffering from Great American Ballpark PTSD.
White Sox 11, Twins 8: Speaking of home runs, the White Sox had five of them. One of them was by Alejandro De Aza in the sixth inning. He had what was initially called a home run in the fifth as well, but it was overturned on replay.
Indians 2, Tigers 1: Justin Verlander was near perfect in his previous start. He would have had to be again to win this one. Despite giving up only two runs — one a tape measure shot in the first from Shin-Soo Choo — he and the Tigers lost because Justin Masterson gave up only a run in seven innings despite walking five dudes. The sweep for the Indians, who would like you all to know that, yes, they are for real.
Angels 3, Mariners 0: Albert Pujols was 3 for 3 with a homer. Folks, El Hombre is back. Deal with it.
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.