Baseball's most irreplaceable player? The numbers (and the Rays) say it's Longoria
September 30, 2012Eastern Indiana Sports
CHICAGO -- The numbers tell a story, but you wonder if you can trust the numbers.
There's no way one man makes that much of a difference. Even if the numbers are correct -- and they are -- they must be at least a little bit misleading.
Except the Rays say they're not.
The Rays say their season really did turn on the hamstring injury that kept Longoria out from the end of April to the beginning of August. They say that the late-season revival, which continued with Saturday's win over the White Sox, really can be attributed to Longoria's return.
"If we have Longo in the lineup all year, we win 10 more games, or 20 more games," David Price insisted. "I feel we're not only leading the division, but we put it out of reach."
Ten more wins, and the Rays would have 97, the most in the majors. Twenty more wins, and the Rays would have 107, and we'd be asking about their place in history.
I'm not sure I buy 20 wins. Probably not even 10.
"Easily, four or five more wins," said manager Joe Maddon.
And even five more wins would have the Rays in first place in the AL East, instead of gasping for their playoff lives.
Longoria is never going to win the Most Valuable Player award this year, nor should he. But is there any player in baseball who was more irreplaceable this year.