MLB Trade Rumors: Tampa Bay Rays Reportedly Open to Dealing Face of the Franchise Evan Longoria

Longoria has been with the Rays since 2008
Wikimedia Commons/Keith AllisonEvan Longoria with the Tampa Bay Rays this past season

Evan Longoria is synonymous with the Tampa Bay Rays.

After helping lead the team to the World Series in 2008, his debut year, Longoria has spent the subsequent seasons establishing himself as one of the premiere third basemen in the game.

For his career, Longoria sports a terrific 270/341/483 battling line as seen on Baseball-Reference, garnering All-Star Game selections and MVP votes along the way.

Longoria has produced his share of incredible moments for the team as well, with the most amazing one probably being the time he smashed a walk-off homerun in the 12th inning of the last game of the 2011 season that sent the Rays to the playoffs.

Longoria has only been with the Rays for 10 seasons, but within that stretch of time, he has arguably claimed the title of best player in the franchise's history.

It is hard to imagine the Rays without number 3 manning the hot corner, but that may be something their fans will need to prepare for.

In a recent article, Tampa Bay Times writer Marc Topkin reported that the Rays "will be open to trading" their highest-paid players, and that means Longoria could be on the block as well.

Tough as it may be for fans to accept, the Rays may actually have good reasons for trading Longoria.

Aside from relieving themselves of Longoria's contract, the Rays could also acquire some top prospects in exchange for their third baseman.

After years of featuring one of the weakest farm systems in baseball, the Rays are once again finally starting to put together a good collection of young talent.

Because the Rays cannot afford to sign the top free agents on the market, the team is always in need of young and cost-controlled players to help them contend. Trading Longoria for more prospects could put the Rays in a better position moving forward and also allow the team to utilize the same formula that allowed them to reach the World Series all those years ago.

Trading a player as beloved as Longoria is never easy, but it is a move that the Rays may seriously need to consider this offseason.