Putting together the Rays All-Time 25th Anniversary squad

Evan Longoria, 3, with Carl Crawford, 13, following the 2008 ALDS.
Evan Longoria, 3, with Carl Crawford, 13, following the 2008 ALDS. / Jamie Squire/GettyImages
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Shortstop: No. 8, Jason Bartlett

Carlos Ruiz, Jason Bartlett
Jason Bartlett evades Carlos Ruiz's tag in the 2008 World Series. / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

Probably the most forgotten producer amongst the position players in this list, Jason Bartlett was crucial to the Rays turnaround in the late-'00s. The Oklahoma Sooner came over in the Delmon Young trade ahead of the 2008 season. In a group of unproven misfits, solid players top-to-bottom, much like Bartlett, were what extended the season into as late as October as possible, where Bartlett won America free tacos by stealing a base in the World Series.

Bartlett, while not the best defensive shortstop, was a very good player up-the-middle for the Rays. He brought a high baseball-IQ, poise, personality, shrewd baserunning and a knack for contact. In 2009, Bartlett set a franchise record for highest batting average in team history (.320), a record that's still standing today. It was his only All-Star campaign.

Overall in his three seasons, the .752 cumulative OPS doesn't scream 'outstanding player,' nor does the 19 total home runs, but every team needs a grinder. His value across his first two seasons is often understated.

Second Base: No. 35, Brandon Lowe

Brandon Lowe, Steve Pearce
Brandon Lowe turning a double play in 2018. / Adam Glanzman/GettyImages

For those confused because Brandon Lowe's worn No. 8 the last three seasons, we pivoted to 35 here because the number has already been used in this activity and he wore 35 in his rookie campaign.

Brandon Lowe has been historically good, and the only reason he isn't in the starting lineup is because he's missed ample time in his career. For an example of his historical greatness, his 136 OPS+ over his first four MLB seasons is the highest for a second baseman since Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947. Hall of Famer Joe Morgan is second, 8% behind Lowe. In the last 100 years, he is fourth among second basemen in wRC+, behind Rogers Hornsby, Robinson and Morgan.

Despite his noted postseason woes, the 2019 MLB All-Star is one of only six second basemen in MLB history with a multi-homer World Series game, alongside players such as Hall of Famer Tony Lazzeri and former MVP Jeff Kent.