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Logan Morrison doesn’t like that Gary Sanchez was invited to the Home Run Derby

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The All-Star Game Home Run Derby participants were announced the other night. No one takes any issue with rookie phenom Aaron Judge being invited. Or Giancarlo Stanton. Cody Bellinger is hitting the daylights out of the ball. Mike Moustakas is having a career year.

But one guy isn’t happy with one choice. The unhappy guy: Rays first baseman Logan Morrison. The guy he’s unhappy with: Gary Sanchez of the Yankees, who Morrison does not believe belongs on the Derby squad. From the Tampa Bay Times:

Gary shouldn’t be there,” Morrison said. “Gary’s a great player, but he shouldn’t be in the Home Run Derby.”

Morrison has a pretty good case to be included, with 24 homers that, going into play Tuesday, ranked second most in the majors. Sanchez, who joins teammate Aaron Judge among the four AL players in the eight-man field, had 13 homers.

“I remember when I had 14 home runs,” Morrison said. “That was a month and a half ago.”

Morrison does have 24 homers to Sanchez’s 13. And Morrison is having a much better season at the plate than Sanchez. But that sort of doesn’t matter because the Home Run Derby — and the All-Star Game itself for that matter — is not about first half numbers. At least not entirely.

A lot of it is about which players the fans want to see. That’s why starters are voted upon and why not all starters are the guys having the best seasons. There’s a healthy debate about all of this and, in turn, a healthy mix of famous “stars” on the one hand and guys having great partial seasons on the other. While this may have been a bigger problem back when the All-Star Game determined home field advantage in the World Series, it doesn’t anymore. Making the whole event into something the fans want is what it is and what it should be all about.

The Home Run Derbry, while not voted on by the fans, is an extension of that thinking. Aaron Judge could be having a totally flukey four months and may become a pedestrian player one day but he’s a beast and a half right now, destroying baseballs, so he’s there. Giancarlo Stanton “only” has 21 homers and has had better years in the past but you’d be crazy to think he wouldn’t be there given his power, his reputation and his past success in the event.

So too is it the case with Sanchez. He’s having a good first half for a catcher, but he’s not among the league leaders in anything, in large part because he missed a month with an injury. But that doesn’t matter because he wowed baseball last season by hitting a whole bunch of homers in a really short period of time. Which just so happens to be the object of the Home Run Derby. People want to see him.

Do people really want to see Logan Morrison? Judging by the vote tally in the Final Vote for the All-Star Game, I’d say not: he’s currently dead last among the five available choices.

Sorry, Logan. The people have spoken, implicitly or otherwise.

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.