ST. PETERSBURG ó Evan Longoria is gone.
And thatís a good thing.
Not the gone part. That still stinks as much now as it did when we all learned the Rays were trading away the face (and heart and soul) of the franchise. Itís the "longíí part thatís the good news.
The Rays shipped Longoria about as far away as they could.
Out of their division. Out of their league. And way, way out of their time zone.
Tampa to San Francisco: you canít get much farther away than that.
If youíre hurting about Longoria being traded to the Giants, the bright side is you arenít going to constantly be reminded that he is with another team.
Itís like a painful breakup. The last thing you want is to run into your ex out on a date.
It will be really weird watching Longoria wearing another teamís jersey, but thankfully for Rays fans, they probably wonít see it that often.
Imagine if Longoria had ended up with the Yankees or Red Sox, and playing against the Rays 19 times a season. Even if he had gone to another American League team, such as the Rangers or Angels, Rays fans would have to see him a few times a year.
But he ended up in San Francisco. Just like Matt Moore. Remember him? Yeah, me either. Thatís the point.
Most of Longoriaís games will be played after most baseball fans in Tampa Bay have gone to bed. Newspaper readers wonít be blasted with his box scores first thing in the morning. Heís in the National League, meaning he wonít come here every year. In fact, who knows when or even if Longoria will return to the Trop again?
And while the Giants are probably better than last yearís 98-loss season suggests, they arenít a marquee team. In fact, two teams in San Franciscoís division made the playoffs, including the National League-champion Dodgers. So, itís not as if the Giants are likely to haunt Rays fans next October.
Sure itís bad that heís gone. But itís more like he has been erased, not moved.
While the Rays were out to get the best deal they could no matter where Longoria ended up, they probably did work to put Longoria in a good situation and that might have included Longoriaís desire to go out west. The guess is the Rays certainly donít mind that Longoria will be out of sight and, because of that, out of mind for most Rays fans in 2018.
But letís not get it completely twisted. Rays fans arenít suddenly going to have amnesia and completely forget that someone other than Longoria is playing third and hitting third in the Tampa Bay order.
Not only that. Rays fans are angry not only that Longoria is gone, but why he is gone.
No matter how the Rays paint it, this still feels like a white flag. It feels like a tank job. It feels like a salary dump even though itís probably a smart business decision.
Longoria is 32. Heís coming off a Gold Glove season. Heís far from being a bum.
But heís not an All-Star anymore. Heís not an elite third baseman. His best days are behind him and his trade value was going down by the day.
If the Rays were ever going to trade him, sooner made more sense than later, especially because Longoria really has no place (or desire to be) in a rebuilding project.
Might as well trade him.