Vernon Wells activated from disabled list

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It went largely unnoticed in the excitement of the Zack Greinke deal, but the Angels activated Vernon Wells from the disabled list prior to last night’s game against the Rays.

Wells had been out since May 21 after fracturing his right thumb while stealing a base. He went 8-for-26 (.308) with two home runs, a double and three RBI in seven games during his recent minor league rehab assignment with Triple-A Salt Lake.

Wells didn’t play in last night’s game and will have to get used to sitting on the bench regularly. According to Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register, Angels manager Mike Scioscia plans to use him in place of Kendrys Morales in the DH spot against left-handed pitching and in the outfield when when someone needs a day off.

Wells would naturally prefer to be in the lineup on an everyday basis, but he’s ready to accept to his new diminished role.

“At first, it was kind of hard,” Wells said. “Now — it just is what it is. You go out when you get a chance to play and approach the game like you did when you were a kid. Go out and have fun, try to help the team win.

“It’ll be different. Just as with anything as this game goes along, you make adjustments.”

Wells was batting .242/.282/.422 with six homers, 12 RBI through 38 games this season prior to the injury and has a .669 OPS in 671 plate appearances dating back to the start of last season. The 33-year-old is still owed $21 million in both 2013 and 2014.

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.