Monday, December 18, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays' Longoria tired of missing out on the playoffs

ST. PETERSBURG — Seeing Matt Moore go to the National League West-leading Giants, Brandon Guyer to the first-place Indians and Steve Pearce to the contending Orioles last week was no fun for Evan Longoria.

Not just because of the void the deals left in the Rays clubhouse but because of the painful reminder that more ex-mates and buddies will be enjoying the playoffs while the veteran third baseman is sitting home for a third straight October.

"I'm ready to win," Longoria said. "I hate sitting around watching all my friends go out and do that. I do believe we can be a contender here again. It takes a lot. It takes a lot. And we have to believe that from the top down."

What Longoria, 30, also would like to believe is that the Rays' recently improved pitching and overall play — 11-10 since the All-Star break after Saturday night's 7-3 win over the Twins — is a launching point for what they could do next season with the proper offseason plan.

"(Manager Kevin) Cash going into his third year and me going into my 25th year here (10th, actually), along with the guys that have been here for a while, we want to win. We're ready to win," Longoria said.

"Personally you get spoiled going to the playoffs so often (four times in six years) and just expecting that it is going to happen again. … I want to go back. And I want us to do everything possible to give ourselves the best chance to do that."

One key, Longoria said, is keeping the remaining core intact, which sounds like code for not trading Chris Archer or any other top starter.

Another, he said, is adding (or retaining) some key veterans to provide leadership and stability in addition to delivering key hits or getting big outs.

Longoria plans to talk with Cash about his thoughts going into the offseason. He knows Cash will have extensive discussions with baseball operations president Matt Silverman.

Longoria's hope?

"In dealing with all the things they have to deal with, ultimately in the end put together a real legitimate contender of players that have played there and been there and that mix of young talent that we have here and at the minor-league level."

Maintaining and assembling that talent requires ownership spending enough money, which is not a given given the Rays' again majors-worst attendance.

After opening the season with a majors-low $58.6 million payroll (plus paying James Loney $8 million to play elsewhere), they are down after the trades and other moves to about $49 million and, subtracting players currently on the DL, are playing with less than $40 million on the field.

"I know we all understand that our philosophy is different than a $200 million-a-year team's philosophy," Longoria said. "That being said, it doesn't diminish the fact of how bad we want to win. Whatever philosophy we have to use, let's try and make that a winning philosophy."

Longoria has been steadfast about wanting to stay with the Rays his whole career. "There would be nothing better than to bring a championship here," he said. "My singular focus is that. It has nothing to do with anything that could happen or may happen."

Team officials have passed on all trade inquiries they've gotten on Longoria and have committed heavily to him, with six years and $100 million remaining on his latest contract.

But, you wonder, what happens if they don't make the moves over the next couple of years to get back into contention?

"I don't know," Longoria said. "I'm not prepared to answer that question yet. It's not a question that I ever want to answer, truly. I don't ever have the belief that it's not going to happen."

Marc Topkin can be reached at [email protected]. Follow @TBTimes_Rays.

     
           
Comments
Rays’ trade silence likely a short-lived phenomenon

Rays’ trade silence likely a short-lived phenomenon

LAKE BUENA VISTA — There were a lot of reasons the Rays didn’t start the process of trading some of their bigger-name, higher-paid players at last week’s winter meetings.Most obvious was them not finding the just-right deal to move closer Alex Colome...
Published: 12/16/17
No big deal for Rays at winter meetings, but it’s still coming

No big deal for Rays at winter meetings, but it’s still coming

LAKE BUENA VISTA — Here’s the one thing we definitely know:Rays officials headed home from the winter meetings and back across I-4 Thursday without making deals to trade any of their bigger-name, higher-paid players. Not closer Alex Colome, not third...
Published: 12/14/17
Are Tampa Bay Rays going to make a major deal involving Alex Colome, others? Well …

Are Tampa Bay Rays going to make a major deal involving Alex Colome, others? Well …

UPDATE, 4:02: It doesn't sound like the Rays and Cardinals will be making a deal today, Derrick Goold writing for the St. Louis Post Dispatch that Cardinals execs "leave the Walt Disney Dolphin resort with good feel for what Tampa Bay would be willin...
Published: 12/14/17
Rays re-sign pitcher Jonny Venters, among 13 invited to spring training

Rays re-sign pitcher Jonny Venters, among 13 invited to spring training

LAKE BUENA VISTA — LHP Jonny Venters got as far as Triple A in September. Now the former All-Star is positioned to make it all the way back to the majors for the first time since 2012, re-signing with the Rays and headlining Thursday’s announcement o...
Published: 12/14/17
Veteran Jonny Venters, prospect Joe McCarthy among 13 Tampa Bay Rays spring invitees

Veteran Jonny Venters, prospect Joe McCarthy among 13 Tampa Bay Rays spring invitees

Inspiring veteran LHP Jonny Venters and intriguing prospect 1B/OF Joe McCarthy are among 13 players invited to major-league spring training camp with the Rays.Others coming as a result of signing minor-league contracts with invites are: RHP R.J. Alan...
Published: 12/14/17
Tampa Bay Rays lose RHP Burch Smith in Rule 5 draft, keep Nick Ciuffo

Tampa Bay Rays lose RHP Burch Smith in Rule 5 draft, keep Nick Ciuffo

The Rays lost RHP Burch Smith in Thursday's Rule 5 draft but were happy to see him get an opportunity in Kansas City.They also were pleased to hang on to C Nick Ciuffo, who was left exposed but not selected.Smith, 27, was acquired from the Padres as ...
Published: 12/14/17
Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 4

Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 4

UPDATE, 11:09: RHP Steve Cishek, who was a very effective addition to the Rays pen last season, has reunited with pitching coach Jim Hickey, agreeing to a deal with the Cubs.UPDATE, 10:40: Like most teams, Rays officials are heading out of the meetin...
Published: 12/14/17
Disney-Fox deal gives ESPN control of local cable rights to Rays, Lightning games

Disney-Fox deal gives ESPN control of local cable rights to Rays, Lightning games

As part of its deal to buy a massive package of 21st Century Fox assets, Disney will acquire Fox Sports Regional Networks, which control the local cable rights to a slew of professional teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays and Tampa Bay Lightning.Assu...
Published: 12/14/17
Tampa Bay Rays making progress in trade talks

Tampa Bay Rays making progress in trade talks

Without getting into specifics – especially the who and the where – Rays officials are for the first time talking optimistically about making a trade before the winter meetings end Thursday.Speaking at around 5:15, senior VP Chaim Bloom s...
Published: 12/13/17

Winter meetings journal: Rays trade for money to sign top international free agent

LAKE BUENA VISTA — While most of the business conducted at the meetings impacts the big-league team one way or another, the Rays are working to finalize a move they hope pays off big sometime in the 2020s.In trading Wednesday to acquire $1 million in...
Published: 12/13/17