Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Evan Longoria tops annual Tampa Bay Rays Power Index

2008 rankings

1. B.J. Upton, CF

2. Scott Kazmir, LHP

3. Carl Crawford, LF

4. Evan Longoria, 3B

5. David Price, LHP

6. Andrew Friedman, executive VP

7. James Shields, RHP

8. Michael Kalt, senior VP

9. Carlos Peña, 1B

10. Ron Porterfield, trainer

2009 rankings

1. Evan Longoria, 3B

2. B.J. Upton, CF

3. James Shields, RHP

4. Andrew Friedman, executive VP

5. David Price, LHP

6. Matt Garza, RHP

7. Joe Maddon, manager

8. Scott Kazmir, LHP

9. Carl Crawford, LF

10. Jeff Lyash, ABC chairman

2010 rankings

1. Evan Longoria, 3B

2. Stuart Sternberg, owner

3. Matt Garza, RHP

4. B.J. Upton, CF

5. Andrew Friedman, executive VP

6. David Price, LHP

7. Joe Maddon, manager

8. James Shields, RHP

9. Jason Bartlett, SS

10. Bill Foster or Ken Hagan

The Rays will be on the go this season. While their payroll is going down, their second AL East championship banner going up, their core veteran players going elsewhere and their bid for a new stadium going nowhere, they are at an interesting crossroads. Here, in our fourth annual Rays Power Index, is a look at those who have the most impact on their short- and long-term future.

1. Evan Longoria, third baseman

He's an MVP-caliber player at 25, which is impressive enough, and under the Rays' control through 2016, which is even better. But he's more than that, given his TV commercials, magazine shoots and top-drawer image: the first truly national face of the Rays franchise.

Last year: 1

2. St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster, and friends

Something has to give on the stadium situation, and it has to start with Foster giving the Rays permission to explore other sites around the Tampa Bay area, then cooperation from the new Tampa mayor, and the other merry men and women who rule. At least then, Rays exec Michael Kalt could try to find a workable solution. If not, expect the threats (sale, relocation and/or contraction) to escalate as well as — eventually — the risk of losing the team.

Last year: 10

3. Andrew Friedman, executive VP

His relentless ability to constantly find value in trades and bargains in a bloated free agent market makes him — with assists to his research staff — an annual candidate for the team MVP award. His best trick yet could be this season — cut the payroll by more than 40 percent, lose half the team that won the East and still field a contending team.

Last year: 5

4. David Price, pitcher

His first full season could not have gone much better, 19 wins and a No. 2 Cy Young finish. Given the Rays' reliance on pitching, and his ability as a hard-throwing lefty to dominate, he could be a franchise player for years.

Last year: 6

5. Joe Maddon, manager

Managing the clubhouse has always been as much a part of Maddon's agenda as the actual games, and that chemistry and communication are more important this year than ever given all the changes. Last year: 7

6. B.J. Upton, centerfielder

There is a certain point when Upton is either going to maximize his tremendous physical abilities and become the elite impact player long predicted or the Rays will have to give up on him being a star and take what they can get in trade. That time might be now. Last year: 4

7. Desmond Jennings, outfielder

It might not be until July or September or next year, but Jennings will be counted upon heavily to emerge as their next impact player, capable of changing a game in multiple ways. While the Rays have several top young pitchers — Jeremy Hellickson now, Chris Archer and Matt Moore on the way — Jennings is the only ready position player prospect. Last year: NR

8. Ron Porterfield, head athletic trainer

Keeping players on the field is more important than ever given the sacrifices in depth forced by payroll concerns. Porterfield and staff are among the game's best given their exhaustive hours and extensive emphasis on injury prevention.

Last year: NR

9. Ben Zobrist, infielder/outfielder

Financial flexibility is vital to the Rays' success. So with $17 million committed over the next four years (including $4.5 million this season), Zobrist needs to be more of an impact player than a bit piece.

Last year: NR

10. Fred Wilpon, Mets owner

That's a joke. Kind of. But the point is that Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg isn't going to wait indefinitely for the stadium situation to be clarified or for MLB to provide more relief (increased revenue sharing, balanced schedule, realignment, etc.). So if Wilpon were, due to financial problems, to sell, and if commissioner Bud Selig preferred to solve a larger problem, maybe Sternberg would have interest in his hometown team, and a deal could be brokered that left the Rays with new owners — or as wards of MLB, perhaps subject to contraction.

Last year: NR

Marc Topkin can be reached at [email protected]

Evan Longoria tops annual Tampa Bay Rays Power Index 03/12/11 [Last modified: Saturday, March 12, 2011 4:45pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Dirk Koetter sounds Bucs alarm: 'They're the players that we have'


    The other day, Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith was asked about the lack of production and pressure from the defensive line, especially off the edge.

    Then it happened.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Vernon Hargreaves (28) takes the field for the start of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers game against the New England Patriots on October 5, 2017 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla.
  2. Superiority complex: USF continues to battle schedule, expectations


    Does USF deserve its No. 16 national ranking? Coach Charlie Strong says there's no doubt. He expects that his Bulls can match up with any Division I-A program. (Octavio Jones, Times)
  3. Rick and Tom podcast: Who will be the Bucs' QB on Sunday?


    Who the Bucs' quarterback will be Sunday against the Bills became clear as mud as Jameis Winston hasn't thrown all week but will take all the practice reps today.

    Will Ryan Fitzpatrick start for the Bucs Sunday in Buffalo?
  4. College football viewing guide, Week 8


    Miami quarterback Malik Rosier (12) hands off to running back Travis Homer (24) during the first half of an NCAA College football game against Georgia Tech, Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017 in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
  5. Little separates McElwain and Muschamp eras of futility at Florida


     Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain watches the second quarter of the Florida Gators game against Texas A&M, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, in Gainesville.