Before Spring Training began one of the biggest concerns the Rays expressed over the potential promotion of Evan Longoria was that he had yet to experience a prolonged slump in the minor leagues. The Rays wanted to see how their top prospect would handle a situation knowing it will eventually happen at the big league level. At the time it seemed like a trivial reason to keep a top prospect in the minors.

If the Rays do indeed demote Longoria to Durham to start the season, many people are going to wonder why. I think I figured out the answer to that question. Or at least I think I figured out why they chose the excuse they will use:

DRays Bay paraphrases Joe Maddon from friday night’s pre-game show.

To paraphrase Joe Maddon on the radio pre-game show: “[Evan] hasn’t been hitting the breaking balls well.”

And here is a quote from our very own Professor on February 25:

If [Longoria's lack of struggles in the minors] is the biggest concern the Rays have with Longoria, then they have no concerns. “He has never slumped” is not a reason to keep somebody in the minors. “He can’t handle curveballs” or “He smokes too much weed” are reasons to keep somebody in the minors. “He is too good” is not.

Did the Rays heed the words of The Professor when discussing how to swing the news of Longoria’s demotion to the press? I guess it is a good thing the Rays didn’t choose option B.

Longoria: Ready? Or Not? [St. Pete Times]
Rays May Keep Evan Longoria In Minors To See Him Struggle [Rays Index]

 
 

5 Comments

  1. EricSanSan says:

    DRG,

    You have to keep him down. The possible upside of two months as opposed to the certainty of an extra year (in Evan’s prime mind you) make this a business decision and nothing else.

    You have to understand what the Rays are trying to do. They are hoping to build a continual dominance instead of commiting it all to 2008. I know fans or Evan Longoria don’t want to the hear that, but its the best move for the franchise in the long run.

    Rays fans have been waiting for years to become a big time competitor in the AL East. They can’t sacrifice that now for the short sighted view of one season.

    I wrote a big column about this at my site. I suggest you all check it out. I talk about this and other reasons for keeping Longoria in Triple-A.

    http://www.mvn.com/mlb-rays

  2. Stunna says:

    I don’t see how this is the best move for the franchise. This makes the Rays seem cheap, plain and simple. Why does it matter what year Longoria’s contract will be up? We aren’t renting him. A winning, professional organization should assume that a player will want to play his entire career with us and not be FORCED to play for us.

    This is like saying “we don’t think he’ll want to re-sign when the time comes, so we might as well use him as much as possible while he’s stuck here.” What a great way to alienate your players.

    They Rays claim that the needs of the prospect outweigh the needs of the organization’s short-term success. Fact of the matter is that he’s the best third baseman we have and he has proven that he is ready to play in the majors. Keeping him in the minors just to add one year would piss me off if I was him. Lets hope he doesn’t hold that against us one day when he is free to sign with whatever team he wants.

  3. Anonymous says:

    stunna! well put, dude!

  4. Robert Rittner says:

    There is a distinction between what “seems to be” and what “is”. There is no question that management has to be concerned with fans’ perceptions, but that can only be a part of the decision making process, and when other important factors are involved, not a particularly important one.

    It’s true that to the casual fan, the simple minded and superficial, it appears the Rays are being cheap. But from what I have read, Longoria himself is not simple minded, and while he might prefer a quick promotion, he most likely has enough sense to understand the issues. It has nothing to do with forcing him into anything; it has everything to do with building a consistent contender.

    Everything the Sternberg group has done has been aimed at establishing a base for regular contention, not a one-shot deal. Over and over they have emphasized that their intention is first to build the substructure on which the major league team will sit so that it can maintain its position, not flame up and then out. Fans may not have the patience or the sense to appreciate that, but that is the established approach and I applaud management’s willingness to stick to it.

    Longoria has certainly impressed, but he has not proven he is ready for the majors. If he succeeds and the Rays approach him with an appealing deal for an extension, the extra few weeks he is kept at Durham is unlikely to have any effect , or at least minimal effect. If there is any, it might be that he ups his demands to compensate for the lost free agent year, and the Rays will then have to decide what to do.

    More time at Durham cannot hurt Longoria. It is not as if he is being held back or has already spent too much time there. It is an insult to the players to suggest they will be alienated because an organization is trying to build a contender according to a well established plan.

  5. Possum Avenger says:

    good points stunna

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