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The Season's Not Over

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The math is simple; if the Rays can lose four games less than the Red Sox over the next 40 games they will almost definitely win the American League East. Yet without Evan Longoria (for the next three weeks) and Carl Crawford can the Rays pull it off?

Replacing Crawford offensively will not be an issue. His speed won't be replaced, but he wasn't getting on base or hitting for enough power to match even the average player. I'm fully confident that whomever is thrown into left the majority of the time (Ruggiano? Hinske?) will surpass Crawford offensively. The concern of course is replacing Crawford defensively.

Using Hinske's right field statistics, rather than his small sample of left field stats, he's roughly 16 plays worse than Crawford. Of course left field is theoretically an easier position, so take a play or two off perhaps and that's still a about a win differential defensively. Over about 100 plate appearances Hinske is worth just shy of a half a win difference, naturally it would seem that A) Hinske may get more than 100 plate appearances over the next few weeks and B) Hinske may not get all of Crawford's PA.

With Evan we're looking at three weeks worth of offense and defense. I put the PA at 75. It's a rough estimate, obviously, but it told us that Evan is worth slightly less than a half of a win better offensively over that time. Defensively Longoria is worth about a play and a half more over 30 chances. Combined Longoria is about a half of a win better over three weeks than Aybar.

So for the next three weeks we're looking at losing a full win from both of the injuries, but after that it might just be a half win differential. Let's just hope that the defense isn't hurt too much out in left field.