Our old friend Halladays Biceps gave me the heads up on this: New Jersey Governor and likely 2016 presidential candidate Chris Christie sitting in for several hours on the Boomer and Carton show yesterday bolstering those straight-talker credentials of his. Of our interest, his thoughts on the Yankees jerseys he was given as gifts:
“There will be s’mores at the bonfire tonight…when I burn them.”
Yankees radio announcers, Suzyn Waldman and John Sterling:
[Waldman is] “God awful” and her co-announcer John Sterling “turns my stomach.”
On the Phillies:
“If there’s any team that I hate almost as much as the Yankees, it’s the Philadelphia Phillies.” He also said Ruben Amaro is an “awful” general manager, and Charlie Manuel’s firing was handled “disgracefully.”
And, finally, how to treat reporters who act like jerks:
“When reporters act like jerks you need to treat them that way back. They don’t have some vaulted status in our society that they get to act like jerks and not be treated like a jerk back.”
I am on board with some of these assessments.
And, though I doubt Christie can make it through the GOP primaries in 2016, I think it would be quite fun to have a president who spouts off about sports like any other fan. Especially if the Yankees, Phillies or someone else on his hit list won a championship and showed up the following summer for their official visit.
Of course that would require the Phillies to win a World Series between 2016 and 2024, so you know, maybe it’s not something to get my hopes up for.
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.