I think everyone called this one as soon as we heard it: the woman who was found tied up in Aroldis Chapman’s hotel room is as crooked as a dog’s hind leg. The Pittsburgh Gazette has details from her police interrogation:
Pittsburgh detectives questioned a woman for nearly 12 hours about a bizarre robbery in the Downtown hotel room of a Cincinnati Reds pitcher, in part because she changed her story.
Claudia Manrique, 26, of Silver Spring, Md., initially said she was attacked late Tuesday by a stranger posing as a maintenance man at the Omni William Penn who tied her up and made off with valuables belonging to pitcher Aroldis Chapman.
But as interviews with detectives wore on, she told them she had encountered her assailant earlier at a CVS pharmacy, where he stole her wallet and threatened to harm her friend if she did not tell him in which room she and the Cuban ballplayer were staying, according to police reports.
It goes on to talk about how Chapman had a bag with $200,000 in jewelry in the room that — somehow — wasn’t stolen. And how the woman was getting calls in the hotel room from someone she owned money to in Maryland who helped her get into the country, according to Chapman.
Yesterday I went with Lebowski, but this is starting to have a “second season of The Wire” vibe. Maybe this woman gets charged. Or maybe they should keep an eye on her in the event some weird European dude sipping coffee all day decides to have her disappeared or something.
Either way: kinda scary and crazy.
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.