Jeff Kent on “Survivor” recap: “This game sucks”

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OK, so my weekly recap of Jeff Kent on “Survivor” is a day late since … well, there was this thing called the World Series on television last night. However, because I’m such a devoted blogger and at least three people like reading these recaps instead of actually having to watch the show I recorded it on DVR and watched it today …

– During the reward challenge Kent got into a brief disagreement with a player on the other tribe named Artis in which he laughed and said: “All right, relax.” I immediately imagined Kent saying that to Barry Bonds approximately 1,000 times per season in the Giants’ clubhouse.

– As part of the reward challenge Kent’s tribe receives letters from home and Kent gets choked up while reading his, saying: “I’ve got a pretty big family at home. Having your wife and kids write to you, after suffering through rain and no food and getting banged up, that’s pretty neat.”

– This week’s immunity challenge involves launching balls into the air and players having to fight over catching them with nets attached to sticks. Kent dominates the game early, making three straight catches to put his tribe within one point of winning, but then has the ball knocked out of his net on a potential game-winning catch. With the score tied Kent switches positions in order to match up with the other tribe’s top player, Malcolm, and then falls down tracking the ball as Malcolm catches it to win.

– Afterward Kent throws tribe-mate Carter under the bus (or truck, for you Kent-related jokesters), saying he was “out-muscled and out-maneuvered by Malcolm.” Apparently no one watched how the final point played out, because Kent doesn’t get called on it.

– Kent starts talking to Carter about who to vote out and says: “Katie is worthless. She can’t do anything in the challenges, she’s only gonna set us back.” However, he also thinks getting rid of Jonathan could be smart since he’s strong. “I think we need to pull a Penner punch,” Kent says, referring to Jonathan’s last name and making up a phrase that doesn’t mean anything even on a remote island situation created by a reality television show.

– Kent tells Carter that “we just gotta make sure Jonathan doesn’t know it’s coming, so he doesn’t use the idol” to protect himself from getting voted out. They all act toward Jonathan as if they’re only debating getting rid of the two women in the tribe.

– Kent has a monologue to the camera: “I’ve come into this game knowing I’m gonna have to lie, knowing I’m gonna have to jeopardize my integrity and character. I’m still weighing my options. All of them have to do with furthering myself in this game.”

– Kent then makes what has become a weekly forced baseball reference, saying: “You don’t know whether you’re gonna strike out or hit a home run, but you go up to the plate to swing the bat.” Or, you know, draw a walk, which Kent did 801 times in his career.

– During tribal council host Jeff Probst asks Kent if he’s ever played any kind of game with this type of strategy before, to which Kent replies: “This game sucks, Jeff.” (Side note: Imagine if you were watching it, instead of actually playing it!)

– Jonathan declines to play his hidden immunity idol, but Katie gets voted out anyway.

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.