SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Evan Longoria is in his first season as a San Francisco Giant after 10 years in a Tampa Bay Rays uniform, but he still follows his old organization from a new league and the opposite coast. He’s giving a thumbs-down to one particular roster move this spring.
The Rays made a surprising decision Saturday when they designated outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment during a flurry of transactions. Longoria, who took his spring training physical on Sunday at Scottsdale Stadium, pronounced himself baffled by the decision.
“It’s kind of a shame,” Longoria said. “I don’t understand it. The guy was an All-Star last year. He’s in his early prime. He’s still controllable. It just doesn’t make sense to me. It doesn’t make sense to a lot of people. Corey will end up somewhere and continue to be the player that he is. But I kind of just feel bad for the Rays’ fan base.
“And I feel bad for the guys this year who were probably counting on Corey to put up numbers to help the team win. I’m not going to take too many shots. But I think it’s pretty obvious that the guy is a valuable player and didn’t deserve to be DFA’d.”
The Rays saved about $10 million from their projected 2018 million payroll with three transactions Saturday. They traded starter Jake Odorizzi, who will make $6.3 million this year and is eligible for free agency after the 2019 season, to the Minnesota Twins for minor league shortstop Jermaine Palacios, and they realized additional savings by acquiring first baseman/DH C.J. Cron from the Los Angeles Angels for a player to be named and designating Dickerson.
The Rays have seven days to trade or release Dickerson. By making the move now, they’re obligated to pay about $1 million of his $5.95 million salary for 2018.
“It’s obviously not a common move to do something like this, but we’ve had enough conversations that we felt this was the best way to get things resolved for him and for us,” Rays general manager Erik Neander told the Tampa-St. Petersburg media on Saturday. “With the conversations that are ongoing with Dickerson, we felt this was the best way to go.”
Cron will make only $2.3 million this season and isn’t eligible for free agency until 2021. Dickerson, in contrast, will be a free agent in 2020. Cron brings some right-handed balance to a Tampa Bay lineup that had a surplus of left-handed bats.
Dickerson, 28, tailed off in the second half last season after making his first All-Star team. He has a .280/.325/.504 slash line in 2,102 MLB plate appearances, and he ranked fourth on the Tampa Bay roster with 2.6 WAR in 2017.
The Rays acquired Dickerson from the Colorado Rockies as part of a four-player trade in January 2016.
Longoria, who left Tampa Bay for San Francisco in a five-player trade in December, wondered about the message the Rays’ decision to part with Dickerson might have on the team’s players as well as the fan base.
“It’s really hard to come into a clubhouse and expect to win when you give away your best players,” Longoria said. “Corey was our best player last year. He was better than me. Logan Morrison hit 38 home runs, but overall, Corey was our best player.
“He has two or three years of MLB service time, and his numbers have been great. I don’t know how you just let the guy go. He can only continue to improve, in my opinion.”
San Diego area native Joe Musgrove throws first no-hitter in Padres history in win over Texas Rangers
The San Diego Padres are no longer the only major league team without a no-hitter. And for that they can thank local product Joe Musgrove, who twirled his first career no-hitter in a 3-0 victory over the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Field on Friday night.
Musgrove’s outing, which included 10 strikeouts and just one baserunner — on a hit by pitch in the fourth inning — snapped the Padres’ streak of regular-season games without a no-hitter at 8,206.
“It’s awesome to have it be in a Padres uniform,” said Musgrove, who had never thrown a no-hitter at any level. “To have it be the first in the history of the franchise, that’s incredible.”
Musgrove, 28, retired the first 11 Rangers hitters in order, then plunked Joey Gallo and retired the next 16. He began the bottom of the ninth at 103 pitches, a concerning pitch count given the caution managers are expressing with their pitchers coming off a shortened season.
Nine pitches later, though, Musgrove made history.
David Dahl lined out to second baseman Jake Cronenworth, Leody Taveras hit a tapper back to the mound, and Isiah Kiner-Falefa grounded out to Ha-Seong Kim, who is temporarily replacing the injured Fernando Tatis Jr. at shortstop.
“There was like three different scenarios where I thought I lost it,” Musgrove said.
Musgrove, who grew up in El Cajon, California, roughly 15 miles from San Diego, is in his sixth major league season. He previously pitched for Houston (2016-17) and Pittsburgh (2018-20) and never had thrown a complete game in his previous 84 career starts.
“I’m freaking exhausted, man,” he said. “There was no way I was coming out of that game.”
Padres manager Jayce Tingler let Musgrove go the distance because he was so efficient — and knowing what it would mean to have a hometown player end the franchise’s no-hitter drought in its 53rd season.
“I think in a way that makes it, if it can be any sweeter, any more special for him, to do it growing up in San Diego and this being his team, it’s about the perfect story written,” Tingler said.
Musgrove threw 77 of his 112 pitches for strikes.
It was the first no-hitter in the majors this season and only the second complete game.
San Diego acquired the big 28-year-old Musgrove as part of a seven-player, three-team trade on Jan. 19. He pitched for Pittsburgh last season.
In his debut for San Diego, which came at home last Saturday, he struck out eight in six scoreless innings against Arizona. He had no walks in winning that game, when he threw 57 of 78 pitches for strikes.
It was the fourth time a no-hitter was thrown against the Rangers. The last had been by Mark Buehrle of the Chicago White Sox on April 18, 2007.
According to Baseball-Reference, there had been 307 no-hitters in MLB history before Musgrove and the Padres. That included 293 individual no-hitters and 14 combined no-nos.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Detroit Tigers starter Julio Teheran scratched before start with triceps issue
The team replaced Teheran with left-handed reliever Derek Holland, who made five starts with Pittsburgh last season. Holland had appeared in two games before making the emergency start.
Teheran came to spring training as a non-roster invitee with the Tigers. He beat Cleveland in his debut last week, allowing one run and four hits in five innings.
The 30-year-old Teheran made nine starts for the Los Angeles Angels in the shortened 2020 season. He spent he previous nine seasons with Atlanta.
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