He could pose in the team picture without blushing.
Evan Longoria would fit in just fine, of course. He has a .278 average and 18 homers and 45 RBI. He has made three other all-star games. People would look at the other stars, and then at him, and no one would blink.
But does Longoria deserve to be an all-star.
He is not one yet. The Rays’ third baseman is one of five players trying to win the final spot in the team voting against Boston’s Justin Pedroia, Detroit’s Ian Kinsler, Houston’s George Springer and Toronto’s Michael Saunders. You can build a case for all of them, including Longoria.
But in these ballot-box stuffing days, in these days of playing for a last-place team, does Longoria deserve it?
Springer has one more home run than Longo. Pedrioia, Kinsler and Saunders have higher averages. Kinsler and Springer have more RBI. Longo plays a more challenging position defensively.
So where does Longo rank?
He probably isn’t a favorite, just because the sheer number of fans are likely to lean toward Pedroia or Kinsler. He probably isn’t an underdog, with a bigger name that Springer or Saunders. Probably, Longoria is in that neighborhood where he could go, but it isn’t a slam dunk.
“I’m always excited to be considered in that group,” Longoria said. “First and foremost, I’m very happy for Colome. I think he’s deserving of it. He’s one of the only guys down there that’s been consistent for us and been great, and we’ve asked a lot out of him. And I’m honored to be on the final ballot thing. We talked about it earlier, I was on it in 2008, and we came through and won. So hopefully we can rally the troops and get some votes and get me there again.”
If you have to put odds on them, do it this way: 1. Pedroia; 2. Kinsler; 3. Longoria; 4. Springer; 5. Saunders.