Roy Halladay really loves Chase Utley

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I am fascinated by Roy Halladay’s Twitter account. There’s nothing spectacular about it really — he’s a retired dude who likes to fish and play golf and stuff — but because I can’t think of any ballplayer’s whose on-field and off-field personas are more different.

On the field Halladay was like the Terminator. He was always business, always serious. While his arm may have given out, you feel like he could still go 12-8 each year based on his intensity alone. It carried over into interviews too. He was never mean, but there was not a lot of emotion there. It was business and logic and zero nonsense.His Twitter feed, in contrast, shows him to be rather funny. Occasionally goofy in a good way. He dabbles in observational comedy and stuff. It’s kind of neat.

Today, the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association gave out its team-by-team Heart & Hustle Awards. They’re voted on by alumni and active Major League players and is presented annually to active players who “demonstrate a passion for the game of baseball and best embodies the values, spirit and traditions of the game.” Chase Utley won it for Philly, and Halladay went with the heart, going on a multi-tweet endorsement of Utley as a professional and a human being.

I began to read it with some amusement but then I started to kind of love it, mostly because it was a mix of Mac’s letter to Chase on “Always Sunny” and the “I love you, man!” stage of a bender, only done stone-cold sober at 2pm on a Tuesday.

Ignore the typos and there/their/our/are level of word mixups. The man was on a roll here and likely typing on his phone:

Corny? I dunno. But that’s some heartfelt stuff right there. From a guy who, as a player at least, gave you the impression he could rip out your heart in a second if he wanted to. Maybe I’m being a softie this afternoon, but I sort of love it.

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.