One year, just one year. That is the only reason why one of the best pure hitters at his age, 22, is in the minors right now.
Rays management claim that the move is best for his development. Most baseball fans know that it was a business decision however and the best possible team is not on the field right now in Tampa.
Due to a contract rule known to most as "Super Two", by keeping Longoria down for a few weeks, the Rays can delay his potential eligibility for free agency a year, until after the 2014 season. If he were to start Opening Week with the Rays, he would only be locked up until the 2013 season. If he stays down for several months, he likely would not attain early eligibility for arbitration, this is known as Super Two status, which could save the Rays millions over the next several years.
Longoria, no longer the best kept secret in baseball, he cranked 3 HR and 10 RBI this spring with the major league club. Some may also remember in the futures game last year he hit one off the wall in deep center at AT&T Park. This kid is ready for the big league level, we know it, they--The Rays--know it.
A promising stand out in Long Beach State, Longoria was the third overall pick in the 2006 MLB Draft. The Kansas City Royals and Colorado Rockies will soon be disappointed as they let a future star slip through their hands. Two right handed pitchers went before Evan. The Royals, with the first overall pick, selected Luke Hochevar from Fowler, Colorado. The Rockies selected Greg Reynolds.
Longoria tore through the minor leagues. Playing just 8 games for the Class A Hudson Valley Renegades. Longoria then went to the Visalia Oaks squad where he hit .327 with 8 HR and 28 RBI in just 28 games played. Closing out 2006, he was promoted to Class AA, where he was with the Montgomery Biscuits, hitting .267 with 6 HR and also a stellar .345 average in the postseason.
Moving on to 2007, Evan started the season with the Biscuits. He played 105 games and hit .307 with 21 HR and 76 RBI. He was quickly pushed along to the Triple A squad, the Durham Bulls. He played 31 games with the Bulls to close out the year, hitting .269 with 5 HR and 19 RBI. Bringing his combined 2007 stats to .299, 26 HR, 95 RBI, 73 walks and a OBP of .402.
He was invited to camp this year to battle for the Third Base job with Willy Aybar. With the move of Akinori Iwamura to second, it was clear that Longoria would most likely get the nod. However, when the business side of the deal became known to the fans and media. Longoria was doomed to start 2008 in the minors.
So the anxious Longoria will now have to wait longer.
But when he gets the call, and he will, he will not disappoint. Mark my words, when Evan hits the majors, you will see him on many highlights and many articles. The 2008 AL Rookie of the Year award awaits Longoria, its his for the taking.
He just will have to work a little bit harder due to the late call up. Just ask Ryan Braun.