Tampa Bay Rays: What Trade for INF Ryan Roberts Means for Evan Longoria

Jamal WilburgCorrespondent IJuly 25, 2012

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 05:  Infielder Evan Longoria #3 of the Tampa Bay Rays slides head first into third base against the Texas Rangers during the game at Tropicana Field on September 5, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
J. Meric/Getty Images

According to Joe Smith from the Tampa Bay Times, the Rays acquired infielder Ryan Roberts from the Arizona Diamondbacks after the team designated him for assignment. Roberts goes to the Rays in exchange for Double-A second baseman Tyler Bortnick.

Roberts provides the Rays with a player who has spent portions of six seasons in the majors. This season he is batting .250 with six home runs and 34 RBI.

The addition of Roberts could signal the upcoming return of third baseman Evan Longoria to the team's lineup as a pinch hitter or designated hitter. Longoria has been out since May with a hamstring injury.

Longoria has said previously that his hamstring was only an issue when fielding, specifically grounders that he has to reach with his backhand. If he is able to run and hit, it would make sense to bring him back and to put his bat in the lineup while other players like Roberts continue to try to fill his void in the field.

Having Longoria as the DH could also allow Luke Scott to rehab appropriately from his strained oblique and return to the team as a pinch hitter or in another capacity.

The addition of Roberts should allow that flexibility for Longoria while allowing some stability in the field at third base.

It will be interesting to see whether Brooks Conrad or Hideki Matsui are moved to make room for Roberts on the roster.


Jamal Wilburg is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report.

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