Shaun Marcum has a lot of spare time on his hands right now since he’s recovering from surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome, so he took to Twitter early yesterday to criticize the Mets television announcers.
Marcum was apparently compelled to write after Ron Darling criticized Frank Francisco for hitting Jayson Werth with a pitch on Thursday. Here’s what Darling said on the SNY broadcast, courtesy of MetsBlog.
“Boy, that was obvious,” Ron Darling said during SNY’s broadcast. ”For you folks at home — and you hear me all the time say ‘That wasn’t intentional.’ Well, this one was intentional. I mean, that’s the silliest thing I’ve ever seen. Base open, behind in the count, nails him in the back. You know what that does? It gets one of your players hit in the next inning. Put [Francisco] up to bat next inning. These things aren’t forgotten, and if it’s not forgotten this season it won’t be next year, either.”
And here’s what Marcum had to say on his Twitter account:
Marcum went 1-10 with a 5.29 ERA in 10 starts and two relief appearances with the Mets prior to surgery in July. Darling, Gary Cohen, and Keith Hernandez are widely regarded as one of the best television crews in the business, so such overt criticism is odd and unexpected, but let’s just say that Marcum will not be picking up one of their bobbleheads.
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.