Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times contacted the Mariners scout who is alleged to have taunted Jesus Montero and have sent him an ice cream sandwich. Which Montero then allegedly threw at him while allegedly taking a bat in his general direction in the stands.
“Allegedly.” “Allegedly.” Say the word enough times and it loses all meaning!
Anyway, the scout’s name is Butch Baccala, and he’s the Mariners’ national crosschecker. He tells Baker that the reports of the incident are wrong, but that he can’t go into detail about them until he has had a chance to tell his story to Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik. He says, however, that he loves his job and that he’d never do something like that to risk it.
This is fun, though:
Baccala at first denied the ice-cream sandwich story, then said he couldn’t comment on it one way or the other. He suggested a reporter check whether they even sell ice-cream sandwiches at Memorial Stadium in Boise, where the game was played.
Todd Rahr, president and general manager of the Boise Hawks, who oversees operations at the stadium, confirmed that ice cream sandwiches are sold there during games.
I hope this doesn’t morph into a story about taunting, bullying, anger issues, alcohol or anything else that may touch on real life issues. I desperately want this to turn into a story that focuses, primarily, on the forensic investigation of ice cream sandwiches. There has been nothing but bad news in the world lately, it seems. We need some good old fashioned late summer nonsense to get us through.
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.