Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Longoria fractures wrist...Rays in trouble?

For those who haven't heard, Evan Longoria fractured his right wrist and is expected to miss about 3 weeks. Longoria has been so important to the Rays lineup and losing him (along with Carl Crawford) is potentially a severe blow to their playoff hopes. On top of playing tremendous defense, Longoria has been a stabilizing right handed bat in the middle of the Rays order by hitting .278 with 22 HR and 71 RBI. Those are spectacular numbers for a first year player.

With that said, I think the Rays will actually be OK. They might lose some ground during these next three weeks, but the Rays success has been the result of solid pitching and great defense. Wily Aybar should be able to step in and play some good defense, but he cannot come close to replacing Longoria's bat. BJ Upton is really going to have to step up, while Carlos Pena needs to hit like its 2007. The Rays can even get creative by putting Hinske at the hot corner, while having Baldelli, Upton, and either Gabe Gross/Cliff Floyd play OF (but this harms the defense). If he is out longer than 3 weeks and the Rays struggle, don't be surprised if the Rays take a look at Mariners 3B Adrian Beltre or to a lesser extent Indians 3B Jamey Carroll or even a guy like Nationals 2B Ronnie Belliard.

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