There are those who speak truth to power. Then there are those who cover the powerful and revel in that power as if it is some extension of their own power. Man, those folks are truly pathetic:
When it comes to being a sheriff – or, at least, playing one on TV – Roger Goodell has few peers in professional sports … And with all due (dis)respect to the displaced national pastime, it’s time for the Sheriff of Park Avenue to walk all over Selig, his MLB counterpart.
That’s Yahoo!’s football writer Michael Silver, whose argument for solving the Orioles/Ravens scheduling conflict mentioned earlier today is basically thus:
- The NFL is strong and popular.
- Major League Baseball is weak an unpopular.
- The powerful and popular NFL should do whatever the hell it wants to and ignore the puny MLB.
- When it does so, no courtesy should be extended MLB. Rather, Roger Goodell should flex his popular and powerful muscles.
I’m not even exaggerating. Check this out:
Does Selig seriously think he’s going to win this battle against the NFL, a league which dwarfs his in popularity and which has conspicuously refrained from flaunting its superiority? … The NFL could easily bully baseball, but for the most part, that doesn’t happen.
He ultimately tells Bud Selig that he should “take some money from Uncle Roger’s slush fund” move the game and come watch the Ravens game himself because that’s what God and Nature intended. And that the NFL should make no accommodations to baseball because, well, why should it?
Know what? In this instance I imagine something like that actually will happen. I bet the O’s-White Sox game gets moved and money is exchanged. But that’s sort of beside the point.
Because at the moment I’m mostly amazed at how many jollies this apparently professional journalist is getting by being on the same side of an issue as the Great and Mighty Roger Goodell, and I’m wondering how being enthralled with that power translates to his critical analysis of whatever else the NFL chooses to do.
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.