Losing marquee players is hard on any team. The Tampa Bay Rays lost Evan Longoria to a hamstring injury that will keep him sidelined from 4 to 8 weeks. As hard as
losing a player of Longoria’s stature is, replacing a player like him is more difficult.
Marc Tompkin of the Tampa Bay Times reported that the Tampa Bay Rays may stand pat in replacing All-Star 3rd baseman Evan Longoria , and so far, you can’t argue
with the results. The Rays are 5-1 since Longoria hobbled off field on April 30, albeit those wins have come against the Seattle Mariners in the Oakland A’s.
The Rays have not been immune to the injury bug. Somehow, they always seem to find a way to avoid significant consequences of those injuries. Longoria himself has
missed time in the past.
In the games in which Longoria has not played the Rays have gone on to win 63% of the time. The question for the Rays this time do they have the players within their
organization that can fill the gap until Longoria returns.
Hopeful estimates have Longoria returning in June. More pessimistic opinions have him returning in early July. That’s a long stretch of baseball without your star third
baseman. The Rays like to pride themselves, and rightly so, as a team built on pitching and defense.
Were it not for the gold glove of Carlos Pena on the other side of the diamond, the Rays might be more desperate to find a replacement until Longoria returns.
Offensively, Longoria was hitting .329 and drove in 19 runs in his first month. The loss of his offense of production has yet to be felt.
The Seattle Mariners and the Oakland A’s are not quite like facing some of the upper tier teams in the American League. Starting next week the Rays will face the Yankees,
Orioles, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Braves and the Blue Jays again in successive series.
We might have a better indication through that stretch of whether or not the Rays can weather the absence of Longoria, without a outside replacement.