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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.”

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Fantasy baseball – Karabell’s prospect watch

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The Seattle Mariners made some unfortunate news in the past week, but perhaps getting lost in the shuffle is the relative clarification — and this is a positive — that the franchise intends to promote awesome outfield prospect Jarred Kelenic in April. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean Opening Day, because he needs the extra two weeks or so of minor league work to hone his swing or to better track fly balls (wink, wink). In any event, Kelenic is among the top prospects not just on the Mariners, but in the entire fantasy baseball world. Get him quickly.

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MLB Stock Watch: First look at win projections, playoff odds and more

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Here’s how we rank baseball’s 30 teams as spring training games begin.

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Shin-Soo Choo to play for South Korean club on 1-year, $2.4M contract

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SEOUL, South Korea — Free-agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo has agreed to a one-year contract to play for a baseball club in his native South Korea.

Choo, who spent the last seven seasons with the Texas Rangers, signed a 2.7 billion won ($2.4 million) deal with a Korean Baseball Organization team owned by an affiliate with the Shinsegae business group, the company said in a statement.

Choo, 38, has confirmed the deal.

“I was born in Korea where I was raised and started baseball. I’ve always had hopes in my heart for a long time to play in Korea one day. Now I think it’s time to put into action and start a new chapter of my life,” Choo posted on Instagram. “I might not be able to promise how good I will be, but I promise that I will do my best.”

Earlier this week, E-Mart Inc., the biggest discount store chain in South Korea, finalized deals to take over the SK Wyverns baseball team based in Incheon, just west of Seoul. The team’s name is tentatively called E-Mart Electros, but it could change, company officials said.

“The Shinsegae Group has listened to the voices of Incheon baseball fans who want us to bring Choo Shin-soo,” the Shinsegae Group said in a statement. “[We]’ve been paying attention to his successful career, diligence and steadiness.”

The 2.7 billion won annual salary for Choo is the biggest of its kind in the KBO league. Choo plans to donate 1 billion of that to social charities, according to the group statement.

During his 16-year career, Choo batted .275 with 218 home runs, 782 RBIs and 157 steals in 1,652 appearances. He was selected as an All-Star in 2018. Before the Texas Rangers, he played for the Seattle Mariners, the Cleveland Indians and the Cincinnati Reds.

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