What they’re saying about the passing of Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver

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Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver passed away yesterday at the age of 82 following an apparent heart attack. Here’s some reaction from a baseball world in mourning:

Orioles owner Peter Angelos: “Earl Weaver stands alone as the greatest manager in the history of the Orioles organization and one of the greatest in the history of baseball. This is a sad day for everyone who knew him and for all Orioles fans. Earl made his passion for the Orioles known both on and off the field. On behalf of the Orioles, I extend my condolences to his wife, Marianna, and to his family.”

Orioles manager Buck Showalter: “Every time I look at an Oriole, it’s going to be missing a feather now without Earl.”

Cal Ripken, Jr: “Earl was such a big part of Orioles baseball and personally he was a very important part of my life and career and a great friend to our family. His passion for the game and the fire with which he managed will always be remembered by baseball fans everywhere and certainly by all of us who had the great opportunity to play for him. Earl will be missed but he can’t and won’t be forgotten.”

Jim Palmer: “It was the perfect relationship. We won, he was tough, we got our World Series checks. It worked. You don’t ever forget an Earl Weaver. And not just if you were an umpire. Fans, players, everyone. Earl didn’t have the smartest guy in the room syndrome back then, but he was definitely one of them.”

Adam Jones: “Os and MLB family lost a great leader yesterday. Earl Weaver wasn’t blessed wit height but if u measured his HEART he was a 7 footer.”

Hall of Famer catcher Johnny Bench: “So sad to hear about Earl Weaver leaving our HOF family. Really enjoyed my years with him. RIP”

Commissioner Bud Selig: “Earl was well known for being one of the game’s most colorful characters with a memorable wit, but he was also amongst its most loyal.  On behalf of Major League Baseball, I send my deepest condolences to his wife, Marianne, their family and all Orioles fans.”

Credit to Roch Kubatko of MASN and Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun for some of the quotes provided above.

The Orioles held a moment of silence to honor Weaver before they began their annual FanFest event this morning. Courtesy of the Orioles’ Twitter account, the club has his jersey and a No. 4 banner of the main stage:

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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.