Adrian Gonzalez showed up for the World Series after all


The other day it was reported that Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, unavailable to the team because of injury and off the postseason roster, was spending the World Series on a European vacation. He had the blessing of his front office and from his teammates so it wasn’t the biggest deal in the world, but it did, understandably, raise some eyebrows.

Gonzalez, however, made his way back to Los Angeles at some point and was on the field before last night’s Game 2.¬†Whether it was always planned this way or whether he changed his plans because of the media attention attracted by his absence is unknown, but there he was in all of his Dodger blue:

Most people don’t really care too much about this as Gonzalez has not been a factor in the Dodgers success all year due to his time on the DL and thus is not a factor in a World Series filled with storylines and stars. Boston sports writers sure cared, though. Here’s sports radio yakker Tony Massarotti after it was reported that Gonzalez was in Europe:

Not that Gonzalez can win with the Boston media contingent. Here’s Spink Award-winning columnist Dan Shaughnessy, offering some incisive analysis early this morning criticizing Gonzalez for returning:

That’s right, folks: Adrian Gonzalez is why the Dodgers lost last night.

All of this is inspired, of course, by the fact that the Red Sox underachieved during his two season stint in Boston. And, I presume, because he didn’t give these guys a lot of great quotes, which is an even greater sin in their eyes. Once a certain brand of Boston media personality decides that you’re worthy of criticism, you’re always worthy of that same criticism, even years later. Unless you’re John Lackey, of course, in which case you get a strange new respect years later, but we’ll leave that go.

In any event, there is some good advice to be found in the example of these guys. Hold on to what you love. Hold on to it tightly, the way that a Boston sportswriter holds on to a five-year-old grudge. Never let go of your passion. Let it fuel you with its hot fire no matter how cold it gets outside.

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.