UPDATE: Ryan Dempster traded to the Braves for Randall Delgado — maybe

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UPDATE: Dave Kaplan of CSNChiago.com is reporting that Dempster has not yet approved the trade, as he must, as a 10-5 guy.  Dempster himself tweeted from his own Twitter account that there is no trade, at least not yet.  It’d be weird for this many reporters to report this much on such a deal from disparate sources if it wasn’t expected to happen, but stay tuned!

2:25 PM: All indications are that Randall Delgado is, in fact, the player going to Chicago.

2:10 PM:  Mark Bowman of MLB.com confirms that Dempster is coming to Atlanta. The player(s) in return are not yet confirmed. Bowman suspects that the deal may involve Randall Delgado. Delgado is 4-9 with a 4.42 ERA on the year, though he is just 22 and is still considered an excellent prospect.

1:57 PM: Jon Heyman reports that the pitcher in question is Ryan Dempster. No word yet on who goes back to Chicago if that is, in fact, the deal.

Dempster gave up four runs over six innings the other night and saw his 33-inning scoreless streak come to an end. But he’s still been crazy-solid on the year. He’s 5-4 with a 2.11 ERA with 77 strikeouts and 27 walks in 98 innings and a WHIP of 1.051. And he’s been even better on the road than he has been in Wrigley.

1:56 PM: We don’t know who it is yet, but …

Whoever it is, it’s needed. The Braves have one of the worst rotations in the National League. Certainly the worst among contenders, and something needs to give.

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.