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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.

Matt Vasgersian thinks bachelorette parties at ballgames are “obnoxious”

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Last night during the Cardinals-Cubs game, the ESPN camera caught sight of a group of women at the game for a bachelorette party. Play-by-play man Matt Vasgersian had some opinions about it. Here’s the exchange:

Vasgersian: Is there anything more obnoxious than the bachelorette party at the ballpark, by the way?

Jessica Mendoza: Why is it obnoxious?

Vasgersian: Congratulations, by the way, yeah, we’re all very happy for you, la la la la.”

Mendoza: Why is that obnoxious?

Vasgersian: It’s such a ‘look at me thing.’ You’re sitting behind like the bridal party — ‘Like, oh my god! We’re getting married! Ehhhhh.”

Mendoza: Woooow. Kind of harsh.

A-Rod didn’t say much other than laugh a bit and say “I love it, Matt.” Which I presume meant he loves the party being there but it could be that he loves Vasgersian’s displeasure at it. I dunno. It’s A-Rod. He’s a man of multitudes.

I’m not exactly sure why Vasgersian believes that people having a good time with their friends is “obnoxious.” Indeed, I would think that, given what he does for a living, he’d think it’s good for people to associate baseball with fun and togetherness. It’s a free country though.

I presume that, at some point, ESPN is going to make Vasgersian apologize, because ESPN doesn’t really want its baseball announcers to be in the business of calling baseball fans “obnoxious.” I further presume that Vasgersian probably won’t mean it because the sort of person who gets cranky at other people having a good time tends not to be the sort of person who does a lot of reflecting when it’s pointed out to him that he’s being a jackwagon. Such is the exercise we go through when this kind of thing happens, however, so let us all hit our marks, shall we?

In other news, I can think of a lot more obnoxious things that can happen during a ballgame than a bachelorette party. Like when play-by-play announcers ignore the action on the field for minutes at a time as they chat idly with their booth-mates about things that are not related to the ballgame.