Red Sox Rankings: American League East Third Basemen
3. Evan Longoria
At one point in his career, Longoria was the premier third baseman in the American League East. He won Gold Gloves in 2009 and 2010 at third base. He was knocking in over a 100 runs per year as well while being at the center of the Rays lineup. A severe hamstring injury limited him to only 74 games in 2012 and he has not been quite the same since. While he had an .842 OPS in 2013, he has not been much of a factor at all in recent years in the postseason. Since a 1.067 OPS in the 2008 ALCS vs. Boston, Longoria is 11 for 73 (.151) with three homers and five doubles. Not the production you want from the middle of your lineup, especially the cornerstone of your franchise.
The last two seasons have been healthy ones for Longoria but his OPS+ of 107 in 2014 and 110 in 2015 seem to indicate a player in decline as he hits the age of thirty. The Rays have seven more years committed to Longoria (and $110.5 million) but they might benefit if they try to get him more days off this year. As his production has gotten to the lowest level of his career, he has played at least 160 games each of the last three seasons. While his fielding is still outstanding, perhaps some rest might help his bat somewhat. His numbers are just not comparable to the players above him on this list. Teams will continue to fear the damage he can potentially do, he is slipping back to league average so he is right in the middle of American League East third basemen.
Next: 4. Chase Headley