Friday, March 28, 2008

The 'Desperate' Longoria ordeal

The jokes must be endless with this guy.

Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay's third baseman of the future, has the same name, minus one tiny letter "n" from "Desperate Housewives" star Eva Longoria (pictured, right).

"I have fun with it," Longoria said during his first stint of minor league ball with the Hudson Valley Renegades. "There's already a picture of Eva Longoria in my locker so the jokes continue."

Only, the joke, this week, turns out to be the Tampa Bay Rays, who decided that saving a few bucks is more important than putting their best product on the field and demoted Longoria, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2006 draft, to AAA Durham.

"It's a tough thing to swallow," Longoria said. "There's a lot of reasons for it, but it's not really my say on that. It's what the front office has to say and they made the decision."

It's the exact situation why the Brewers demoted Ryan Braun, after hitting .350 in spring training last year and it's the same reason the St. Louis Cardinals sent back CF Colby Rasmus this year: Money.

By waiting at least 7 weeks to bring up a player, it extends that player's arbitration clock a year, so instead of control through 2013, the Rays will have until after the 2014 season before Longoria can bolt in free agency.

How'd it work out for the Brewers last year?

They finished 2 games behind the Cubs in the NL Central and lost 10 games by 3 runs or less during the first 7 weeks while Braun was in AAA. And his fill-in? A combination of Tony Graffanino and Craig Counsell combined to hit .200 with 1 HR in those 7 weeks. Braun hit .324 with 34 HR in 113 games after being called up and won the Rookie of the Year award.

According to Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman, the business aspect had "very little" impact on Longoria's demotion.

And when athletes hold out for a bigger contract, or jump around in free agency, it's never about the money. Yeah, right.

For those of you fantasy owners who drafted Longoria, please, do not drop him if you are in a league with bench spots. He'll be back up within the first two months. It's almost a guarantee.

Check out his smooth, David Wright-like swing during batting practice below:

Everywhere he's been, he's impressed. In that first stint of low-A ball, Longoria smacked 4 HR in 8 games and was promptly sent to high-A ball and hit .327 and finished the year in AA.

Last year, at AA Montgomery, he hit .307 with 21 HR in 105 games and was promoted to AAA Durham.

Whether it's his name or his swing or his high draft status, Longoria's been under the microscope for two years now and has performed everywhere he's been - and he's had to listen to all the inevitable "Desperate Housewives" jokes along the way.

Only this time, it's the Rays organization that's the punch line.


Anonymous said...

David Wright swing?? How can you make a comparison from a batting practice swing to a swing from a real live pro game. My swing looks like that at the church league softball games for Grace Pres.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for including the video, its amazing how differently the ball sounds when a guy like Longoria hits it. I am very tired of hearing about the so called small market teams can't compete. The Rays need this guy and the fans deserve the best team on the field. Toss

Anonymous said...

I only get on for the phuzzle and the baseball blog. Keep it rolling man!!

Catfish Blunter said...

Good to see a fantasy baseball blog on for me and the rest of the losers who play this addictive game.

If I had drafted Longoria I wouldn't hesitate to drop him right now though. I'm sure you can find a Casey Blake or Brandon Inge or Maicer Izturis. I guess though it depends on how deep your league is. I picked up a guy like Lincecum last year off of waivers because nobody else in my league followed his AAA progress.

Anyway I'm getting longwinded, can't wait for opening day. Also, go Knights!