Yesterday the Tampa Bay Rays sans Devil of St. Petersburg Near Tampa announced that Evan Longoria would begin the season at AAA Durham.
Despite only 198 career games as a professional and 31 games at AAA most viewed the move as purely financial. Many fans and non-fans weren’t happy noting that the move was just “The Rays being The Rays”…or is it “The Rays being The Devil Rays”? We aren’t sure.
Even if the decision was based completely on The Dirtbag’s service time (it wasn’t), it is as if everybody has suddenly forgotten the state of baseball economics in the 21st Century. These are the type of decisions that all small-market teams must make if they have any hope for competing against teams with payrolls two to four times larger, even if it may cost them money in the short-term.
Fans weren’t the only participants unhappy with the move. Jonny Gomes was asked how the team felt about the move.
“I think there’s one person happy out of the entire Rays organization, and that’s Charlie Montoyo, the Triple-A manager.”
We have understood the move since the beginning. Our only beef has been the Rays were fudging the reasons behind the move. The move itself only bothers us from the standpoint that the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays are a better team with Longoria on the roster. But now that Scott Kazmir is out indefinitely that point is moot.
Let’s take a look at what is being said about Dirtbag’s demotion in the Blogosphere…
- Rays of Light understands the decision but feels the organization lied about giving Longoria a shot to make the team, feeling that the decision to send him to the minors was made before spring training…We would not go that far, but they might be close. We have a feeling that the team was about 90% sure Longoria would start the year in Durham, but did not want to rule out the alternative. [Rays of Light]
- Nine Bo Jacksons are hypocrites saying that the move is “solely being done to delay Longoria’s arbitration clock”. And then just two sentences later say that “move to AAA actually may help him”. Huh-wha?!? Golly. If only the Rays had figured out that a move to AAA would actually help Longoria. Those selfish bastards *very thick sarcasm*. [Nine Bo Jacksons]
- Fanhouse is also hypocritical calling the Rays bosses “cheapskates” and saying that the team’s commitment to winning now is “essentially nonexistent”. And yet they go on to say that the move is “certainly understandable from their point of view, because you want to protect your assets as long as you can”. In other words it was a good move but they shouldn’t have done it. [Fanhouse]
- Outs Per Swing says it is the right move and the Rays front office is “playing the game smart”. The biggest reason stated is that Longoria won’t be the difference-maker for the 2008 Rays who are not contending for the playoffs. [Outs Per Swing]
- Bugs & Cranks is not going to let this move dampen their excitement for opening day of the 2008 Rays. [Bugs & Cranks]