Andruw Jones still a far better player than Terence Moore is a writer

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MLB.com should be ashamed to have published such a hack job.

Former Atlanta Journal Constitution writer Terence Moore takes on Andruw Jones today as only he can:

The bottom line: Jones is only assured of joining the inaugural class of the Hall of Fame of Disappointment.

The majority of Jones’ lowlights came later.

With apologies to Simon & Garfunkel, where have you gone, Andruw Jones, and how did you lose your way to Cooperstown?

Not only was Jones supposed to waltz from Yankee Stadium in October 1996 to the Hall of Fame, he was supposed to do so as a lifetime member of the Braves.

Sad. Really sad.

And I thought I was obsessed with the Hall of Fame.

Honestly, that’s mostly what there is to it. There’s certainly nothing new there, unless you want to see a John Smoltz quote saying Jones had “it!”. Moore even regurgitates the story about the one time in 17 years Jones was benched for not hustling to catch a flyball. There’s no insight at all; nothing into what caused Jones’ inconsistency or early-30s swoon. Really, the whole article is a lesson into what one could do with access to a baseball player’s wikipedia page and an intro to writing course. There’s certainly nothing there that suggests Moore actually covered Jones for the bulk of his career.

And that’s what really makes this pathetic. Moore should have all of the artillery necessary to bash Jones if there’s anything there to bash. The only real takeaway from the column is that Moore expected Jones to hit 500 homers and become a first-ballot Hall of Famer and he’s taking it personally that it didn’t happen.

Sad. Really sad.

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Actually, this is even worse than I originally thought. It turns out Moore’s column today is essentially a rewriting of Moore’s Jan. 4, 2012 column on Jones. And barely rewritten. He’s even got the same Simon & Garfunkel line in there, and he ends the previous piece with a “How sad,” as opposed to today’s “Sad. Really sad.”

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.