5 Tampa Bay Rays Players That Should Have Their Number Retired
The Tampa Bay Rays don't have a long-storied history like most other teams do in the league, with the Tampa Bay Rays and Arizona Diamondbacks being the two youngest teams in the MLB.
However, the team does have players who have greatly contributed to the success of the organization and deserve to have their number retired at some point down the line or even sooner rather than later for some of our retired past greats.
Currently, the team has two main numbers retired, as Don Zimmer, long time coach for the team, and Wade Boggs, Tampa-native and Inaugural season member for the club. But is it time to add a third member to that Rays retired list of numbers.
1. #3 Evan Longoria
Evan Longoria is the most obvious pick here as the next candidate to have his number retired here with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Longoria and Kiermaier are two of the longest-playing Rays, both having spent well over five seasons with the club and having played in the team's two World Series runs.
Beyond the longevity of his time with the club, the numbers don't lie either, as Longo is #1 in many of the team's offensive categories such as home runs, RBIs, games played, and total runs.
While Evan Longoria is the easiest choice for the next person to get his number retired, Rays fans must be patient to have it happen, as Longoria is still playing third base for the San Francisco Giants, a move made by the team in 2018.
2. #39 Kevin Kiermaier
While Kiermaier may feel like one of the more obvious choices to have his number retired by the club, there could be more for debate with this selection.
Although Kiermaier's longevity and fan-favorite personality give him the reason for being number two, his numbers aren't the flashiest compared to Longoria's.
With that said, though, Kiermaier is one of the best defenders to have played for the club and is one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball, with Kiermaier racking up 3 Gold Glove awards in his time and also a Platinum Glove Award in 2015.
Kiermaier does have some offensive categories where he is in the top 10, and he is even in the top 3 in terms of stolen bases, but people are going to look at Kiermaier because of his defensive abilities and the plays he made in his time with the Rays.
Again, similar to Longoria, Kiermaier getting his number retired will have to wait, as he is only 32 and is expected to be playing in 2023.
3. #14 David Price
The pitching position for retired number candidates for the Rays is a tricky one.
James Shields could be someone you can debate as a candidate with him leading the franchise in strikeouts and Blake Snell can also be a candidate with his Cy Young Award won here in Tampa, but I think the rightful decision would be David Price.
Price was "priceless" in his 6 years at the major league level with the organization. During the 2008 World Series, he was a key piece and young arm for the Rays, and he would finish his career with four all-star appearances, a Cy Young Award in 2012, and even a cover athlete for MLB 2K13, becoming the Rays' second cover athlete after Evan Longoria.
His numbers were also more appealing in terms of his team ERA, which leads the franchise leaderboards with a 3.18 ERA in his Rays career.
David Price could get his number retired earlier than Kiermaier and Longo since there have been talks that he may step away from the game, but if he does get his number retired, it surely will be well deserved.
4. #2 BJ Upton
Regardless of what his first name was, BJ was one of the better base runners in the franchise's history and could be a candidate to get his 2-jersey number retired by the team.
BJ is second all-time in stolen bases with over 200 in his Rays career, trailing only Carl Crawford, and while I believe Crawford would be ahead statistically, Crawford has had some off-the-field issues that could cause some debate.
Beyond that, BJ would be a solid candidate Upton, like his CF counterpart, Kevin Kiermaier. He was a defensive wizard and made some impressive plays in the field during his time with the club and was a quiet hitter in terms of his numbers.
While Crawford may be a more logical choice, BJ Upton would be more of a better representational pick and can be an easier set up to have him for a retirement day since he now is a Color Commentator.
5. #5 Wander Franco
Yes, this may be very early to call out, but, if Franco becomes the stud that he is supposed to, don't be surprised if he is in this conversation and higher up on this list.
Franco has proven that he can be a special talent for this club, one of the reasons the club gave him a 11-year, 182-million-dollar contract last offseason.
Franco's quick rise to stardom has made him one of the most highly touted prospects in baseball in a while, and now with about a season's worth of games in 2021 and 2022 in the big leagues under his belt, we have seen what he can bring to the table.
Franco hit .277 in 83 games this season, displaying his exceptional hitting ability, and his fielding percentage was nearly perfect.
Wander Franco, as well, is going to have some great matchups, as I can't wait to see Jasson Dominguez vs. Wander Franco at the big-league level.
If Franco can play the way he did in the minors here at the big leagues consistently, I expect to see Wander Franco with his number in the rafters in Tampa Bay.