Rays Could Have Had Ryan Zimmerman and Evan Longoria in Consecutive Drafts

By Robbie Knopf

Evan Longoria had a tough day yesterday, but it’s impossible to understate the impact he has made in the turnaround of the Rays franchise from a cellar-dweller to consistent contender. While we watch Longoria perform his heroics for us, another third baseman attempts to fulfill a similar role for his franchise: Ryan Zimmerman of the Washington Nationals. While Zimmerman may not be quite the player Longoria is and has gone through significant injury problems, we know that he’s a superstar in his own right. What if the Rays could have had both Ryan Zimmerman and Longoria on their major league roster right now?

In 2006, the Rays selected Evan Longoria 3rd overall. In 2005, they selected Ryan Zimmerman.

“Wait a second, Robbie. The Nationals selected Zimmerman 4th overall in the 2005 MLB Draft. The Rays didn’t pick until 8th, and when they picked, they selected ill-fated right-handed pitcher Wade Townsend as a cost-saving measure in the final year of the Naimoli ownership. What are you possibly talking about?”

“Oh, you meant that Ryan Zimmerman? The Rays selected a different Ryan Zimmerman in 2005. They were pretty darn close. The Nats third baseman was born on September 28th, 1984. The Rays draft pick was born on September 19th. Although… that and their names are basically all they have in common. The Rays’ Ryan Zimmerman was a right-handed reliever who they selected in the 12th round of the 2005 Draft. He lasted just two minor league seasons before retiring in 2007 having never played at a level higher than Short Season-A.”

“Robbie, that’s completely different. Why did you bait all these readers in with the alluring title and completely fool everyone by starting this post with a discussion of the Ryan Zimmerman we know?”

After last night’s tough game, specifically regarding Longoria, we all needed a little laugh. Time for the Rays to relax, refocus, and rebound beginning tonight versus the Blue Jays.

Doesn’t Zimmerman look exactly like a Rays player in this shot with his dirty uniform? Credit: Joy R. Absalon-US PRESSWIRE