We call him The Dirtbag because of how he plays and because he played college ball at Long Beach State whose baseball team has the coolest mascot in sports…The Dirtbags.
The biggest question mark for the Tampa Bay Rays in Spring Training is whether or not Evan Longoria will be named the opening day third baseman. Manager Joe Maddon has repeatedly stated that the decision will be based less on his stats, and more on how the 22-year old handles himself on a day-to-day basis and how well The Dirtbag adjusts to everyday life as a major leaguer. From now until the Rays announce a decision on Longoria’s fate, we will track The Dirtbag’s progress through his numbers, our own observations and quotes from Maddon and Andrew Friedman…
Yesterday at the plate: Rained Out
The boys at Rays of Light caught a Buster Olney interview from a radio broadcast in which he touches on the Rays decision concerning Evan Longoria. They are paraphrasing:
Over the past few days, I’ve begun to hear some things that the Rays are feeling some pressure to keep Longoria on the big league roster rather than sending him down. As it relates to his contract and arbitration status, he’s signed with an agent who is considered to be a “do what the player wants” kind of agent, so the Rays are beginning to think that they can sign him long-term without ever having to go to arbitration.
Joe Maddon on the Longoria decision:
“We’re still really looking at that whole thing,” Maddon said, noting that the decision is also likely to be made next week.
Summary: If I would have heard just the second half of the Buster Olney I would probably push the Dirtbag-O-Meter up even higher, but the Rays do not seem like a team that is going to succumb to public pressure. On the other hand, fir the first time, the Rays are going to make a decision that the national media is waiting to scrutinize. So I will give the Dirtbag-O-Meter a bump one spot today and hope there are more telling quotes today or tomorrow.