The other day, Sports Illustrated released their list of the face of every MLB franchise. Unsurprisingly, Evan Longoria was named the face of the Tampa Bay Rays.
When the Tampa Bay Rays selected Evan Longoria with the third pick of the 2006 MLB Amateur Draft, it was hoped that he would develop into a star. Then, after he was given a long term extension after just six games in his Major League career, it was hoped that Longoria would become a star for the Rays, and the long term face of the franchise.
He certainly lived up to his side of the bargain, becoming a three time All Star, the 2008 American League Rookie of the Year, and a two time Gold Glove winner. Longoria became a consistent threat in the lineup, a power hitter who could do almost anything the Rays would need. When he signed another long term extension that would go into place for this season, Longoria was virtually assured of remaining with the Rays throughout his career.
As such, it is absolutely no surprise that, when Sports Illustrated came out with their list of the face of every MLB franchise, Longoria was the choice for the Rays. He has established himself as a star, and as the franchise leader in virtually every offensive category, his place in Rays history has been cemented.
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To be fair, Longoria really did not have a lot of competition for the honor. While Chris Archer has signed a long term extension of his own to become another building block in Tampa Bay, he does not have close to the resume that Longoria has compiled. Was there really another choice?
This will not be the last honor that Longoria receives from the Rays. It was be a tremendous upset if his number 3 was not retired the day Longoria calls it a career. Although his days of being a Gold Glove third baseman may well be over, he could still have another All Star Game appearance or more left. And, if he remains healthy and continues his solid production, Longoria could even become the first true member of the Rays in the Hall of Fame.
Evan Longoria was, unsurprisingly, named as the face of the Tampa Bay Rays. This is a title he may hold for quite some time.