The divorce is over and each of them has found a new love, but Robinson Cano and the Yankees have still decided it’s worth trading barbs about “disrespect” in the past 24 hours.
Here’s Robinson Cano at yesterday’s press conference when asked about his dealings with the Yankees before accepting the Mariners’ $240 million offer:
“I didn’t feel respect. I didn’t get respect from them . . . I was hoping they would come up with a better offer. My goal was to stay there . . . I didn’t see any effort [from the Yankees].”
Know what? I get that. Cano is absolutely wrong for talking publicly about it and doing so gets him absolutely nowhere, but I understand why he may feel that way. The Yankees didn’t even really pretend to be particularly interested. Not saying they should have been — at the price Cano was reportedly demanding it made no sense for New York — but there has developed a certain convention around such high-profile athletes in which everyone at least publicly talks about how badly they want to stay together, etc. and that didn’t happen here. And star athletes are high strung and all of that. So, again, Cano shouldn’t have said this, but I can see where it’s coming from.
Just this morning Yankees President Randy Levine shot back, taking issue with Cano’s claim that the Yankees did not treat him with respect. He said they were more than happy to make a $175 million offer and always treated Cano with respect, but that ultimately it was simply a matter of it not making any kind of sense for the Yankees to commit to a ten-year contract given how those deals have gone for them in the past. He doesn’t blame Cano for taking Seattle’s offer as it was clearly better. Levine added that, rather than disrespect, he thinks Robinson Cano is “very disappointed” he no longer plays for the Yankees.
Now: everyone move on.
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.