This article has been written before, multiple times probably.
It was written when the Rays traded David Price and BenZobrist. Before them, it was written when they traded James Shields. Following the 2010 season, we bid farewell to the likes of Carlos Pena, Matt Garza, and Jason Bartlett. Carl Crawford left after that season as well and the fanbase rallied together to put a full page ad in the local paper saying their goodbyes.
This just hurts more.
I became a fan of the Rays during the 2002 season at the ripe age of eight years old.
After learning about the team, my favorite players became Steve Cox and Randy Winn. I had no idea how the game worked on the business side of things and had very basic knowledge of what made a player good, just that I knew I liked those guys.
Then, Winn was traded to Seattle for a manager and Steve Cox was sold off to Japan to never see the majors again.
That was the first taste I had of how the Rays system worked, and I hated it.
Now, with Winn gone, I looked to several new emerging stars on the roster, Carl Crawford, Rocco Baldelli, Julio Lugo, Toby Hall. and Aubrey Huff.
Rays fans were fortunate enough to bare witness to the feats of Carl Crawford for eight years before he became a free agent and signed a mega deal with the Boston Red Sox. Rocco Baldelli meanwhile, dealt with career shortening injuries throughout his several years with the club. Lugo, Hall, and Huff would all be traded, bringing in a whole new crop of exciting young players to follow.
We should know not to get attached.
The average tenure of a solid Rays player is not a long one as they quickly become too expensive or too valuable not to trade.
Randy Winn, Aubrey Huff, Delmon Young, Jason Bartlett, Akinori Iwamura, Ben Zobrist, James Shields, Wil Myers, and David Price are just some of the names of the guys with whom fans grew an irrational emotional attachment to, only to see them shipped off.
Evan Longoria was supposed to be different, but we all knew deep down that one day, this would happen.
Staunch opposition of Evan Longoria being traded, including myself, proclaimed all off-season that Longoria would be Rays first ever franchise player and that if they were to trade him, it’d have to a mega deal that blew them away.
Longoria was traded and for a package that has been met with anger and confusion. They received a decent prospect, an aging outfielder who stands to make nearly as much as Longoria in 2018, and two low level minor league lottery tickets. No one was blown away by the return.
It’s part of life as a fan of the Rays. It’s what makes them so fun and so terrible to root for as they try to compete with the most storied franchises in the game.
Once Christain Arroyo asserts himself, or Willy Adames, or Brent Honeywell make their names in the majors, we can expect them to be shipped along as well once they become too expensive for the budget strapped Rays.
It’s just life as a Rays fan.