The Rays have never had that, a franchise third baseman as well as a superstar. I know, I know, B.J. Upton played third, but he didn't stick, and Carl Crawford as well as Scott Kazmir are superstars in our minds, but you won't see them as much as Evan next year. Longoria is the poster child of the new ownership, a third overall pick in the draft who experts called the next Joe Randa some questioned him as a signability pick. A year and some months later that isn't the case, and draft experts are wondering why the Rockies didn't take him.
But that has never been a friend of the Rays, go back to the organizational awards prior to the end of the season, Longoria was wearing a suit that might have been more expensive than he was last year, per reports that suit was supplied to him by the organization. Perhaps I'm just a little too curious, but did the organization supply the likes of Desmond Jennings, Wade Davis, and others with suits? Possibly, but the camera time with Todd Kalas - one of the greatest life experiences Evan will likely ever encounter, even above shameless groupies - that's just straight Longo man.
The personality, the hair, the skills, they're all there, he plays the position of kings, remember Chipper Jones? His minor league stats weren't as impressive, same with David Wright, same with a number of third basemen in the majors that are top of the line. If he can emulate his minor league numbers he instantly jumps into the pantheon of top third basemen in the league, and depending on what happens with Alex Rodriguez and Mike Lowell he could become the best third baseman in the A.L. East within his first season.
When was the last time the Rays had a top prospect on the cusp of the majors who didn't have character, performance, or legal concerns? Delmon threw a bat, B.J. couldn't stick at short or third, Elijah is a mobile sperm bank, Kazmir had folks in New York concerned about his ability to handle the N.Y. life, maybe Carl? Rocco? Longoria's hype has came purely from his on-the-field actions and for that the anticipation could reach all time highs, including ads like so:
38 starters and 10 seasons later the Rays finally have a franchise third baseman, come next April in Baltimore he'll be wearing the new look with the high socks - something that I personally can't get enough of - and just like that everyone will want a nice autographed picture.
Perhaps the bigger question becomes where will he bat next year, if Joe Maddon's approach to youngsters stays true one would have to imagine in the lower third of the order where he'd have to earn his way up, much like Dukes, Upton, and Iwamura did last season.
Things aren't all daisy in Raysland, but Longoria's imminent debut has a different feel about it, he's not the white knight here to save us, but he is the prince, and don't be surprised if he's marketed like one, April 2008, King Evan arrives, the masses should start preparing now.