How important is Evan Longoria to the Rays? We saw how critical Longoria has been to the Rays’ success last season, when they went 42-27 when he was in their lineup and just 43-45 when he wasn’t. This year, Longoria has stayed healthy, and at least by the simple measure of wins and losses, we have no idea how important Longoria actually is to the Rays. They are 67-52 when he has played and actually 3-0 without him. For Desmond Jennings, however, the last two weeks have elucidated just how badly the Rays need him. They have gone just 5-7, and included in that was their 6-game losing streak. Three of those wins came in their last at-bat as well, meaning they easily could have lost 8 or 9 of those games instead. Jennings is certainly no Longoria and the Rays are still a good team without him. But the Rays are ecstatic to have him back as he comes off the DL today–he makes their entire team more dynamic and his return could make a difference immediately.
As Jennings comes up, Brandon Gomes heads back down to Triple-A. He knows that he will be back in just a couple weeks as roster expand. But somewhere in the back of his head, he knows that he has failed. Gomes could have kept his roster spot. With Jennings coming back, the Rays have no real reason to keep Jason Bourgeois, but they decided that he was more valuable than Gomes nevertheless. Gomes made just one appearance after coming off the 60-day DL, allowing a home run and a double in his inning of work although he did strike out 2. He didn’t have much time to prove himself. He also was facing and uphill battle because the Rays’ decision between Bourgeois and him also had to take into account that Bourgeois is out of options while Gomes can be sent down and come back in two weeks. But he had a chance to catch the Rays’ eyes and failed. Here he goes back to Triple-A, and even though no one will say a word, with Gomes’ arsenal being a low-90′s fastball and mediocre secondary pitches and his performance simply not being there in the majors this year, his status as a Quad-A player has become so clear as to be almost implied.