Josh Hamilton is hearing the boo birds

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After being criticized by Rangers president and CEO Nolan Ryan earlier this week, Josh Hamilton is now hearing it from some of his home fans.

Hamilton went 0-for-4 in last night’s 9-5 loss to the White Sox. While he at least contributed with a sacrifice fly and an RBI ground out, a smattering of boos could be heard after he struck out in the third and fifth innings.

According to Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Hamilton wasn’t happy about being booed in his home ballpark, but acknowledged that it comes with the territory.

“Yeah, I noticed but it’s all about what have you done for me lately, no matter who you are,” Hamilton said. “That’s what it is. There are more fans that are still cheering and encouraging me than the ones that are booing.

“I pray for the ones that are [booing] and I appreciate the support of the other ones.”

Hamilton, who has fought addiction his entire career, has heard plenty from fans across the country. But what did he make of the hometown crowd booing him?

“It’s disappointing,” he said.

Hamilton paused and repeated: “It’s disappointing. It is. I’ll leave it at that.”

Hamilton is currently tied with Miguel Cabrera for the American League lead with 83 RBI, but his slump has lingered for nearly two months. The impending free agent is hitting just .190 with seven homers and a 56/18 K/BB ratio in 186 plate appearances since the start of June, which has seen his batting average tumble from .368 to .284 overall.

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.