I don't think Zobrist should play SS but simply switching Srod and Longo makes no sense.
I think Yoda needs to sit back and listen to my buddy art and absorb the game from the master instead posting looney tooney ideas.
Longo isn't a better SS and switching their positions doesn't improve the offense at all.
This guy art seems to know what he's talking about. I'd listen to him. He makes sense...unlike others.
When it's on! When it's on!?
The problem is ... you can NEVER tell when it's gonna' "be on"!
(And ... he hasn't thrown a fastball this season faster than 85 ... and he probably hasn't done that more than twice! And ... "2008-9"? Who cares about 2008-9? Who cares what Upton did in 2007? Who cares what Burrell did for Philadelphia? Who cares about Kazmir's "potential"?
For the money these guys are being paid ... the ONLY REAL QUESTION is ... "What have you done for me lately?"
I feel the same about Howell as I do about Upton (and, for example, Burrell, Kazmir, etc.); their time has come and gone. Both Upton and Howell started with a big flash a few years ago ... and have turned into little more than big fizzles since. They've had MORE than their share of chances with this team. Time for both to go elsewhere, moving on to a fresh start, and maybe taking advantage of an opportunity in a new setting to improve their baseball skills significantly.
(However, I don't believe that will actually ever happen to either. For some reason or another, both have apparently become "permanent" Rays ... no matter what. To me, keeping both around simply takes away the opportunities for two new players to come in who might actually turn out to be better!)
Howell's FB sits at 85. His problem is that he hasn't had control of his other pitches consistently. When he was outstanding a few years ago he'd have the hitters offstride with the offspeed pitches and still be able to lock them up with the fastball. Whether he gets that ability back remains to be seen.
Upton is a pretty good player and there is currently no logical alignment the team can put together which makes the team better without him.
So ... you obviously didn't see him playing third base last season ... and routinely being replaced by Felipe Lopez "for defensive purposes"?
He's a natural second-baseman; his reflexes and range at third are not even remotely comparable to Longoria's.
Howell's FB only occasionally breaks 85. Scott Kazmir was outstanding a few years ago, too. In my opinion, Howell is simply not good enough at this point ... or, if you must, not consistent enough ... to remain in a major league bullpen. And how he was, in terms of pitching quality, in 2008, is totally immaterial.
And the operative issue regarding Upton is ... the team is certainly no worse with Upton being out of the lineup. In my opinion, Farnsworth and Fuld being out are way more consequential than Upton being out. And, likewise, the fact that he had a career year in 2007 has l-o-n-g been immaterial.
Well, you know, in the first place, I never really dug that whole "Yoda" thing way back when!
If Longoria gets a little more consistent in terms of hitting for a somewhat better average ... he's probably headed towards being considered among the best third basemen of all time. (?)
Longoria at third, the current crop of starting pitchers, and utility man Zobrist are probably the most firmly established parts of the team ... the true heart of the current team ... and I firmly believe they should remain as is, where is! (?)
I genuinely believe Jennings is better in center than Upton; better routes to the ball; better arm; and just as quick as they come!
I agree that there's almost automatically something "iffy" that seems to come along when you first see Joyce out there in left ... BUT ... he's made some really first-class plays out there already this season ... and he definitely has a pretty good arm (not as quick a release as Fuld ... but strong and accurate) ... so ... I think he may be being UNDER-estimated as a left-fielder! (?)
Rodriguez is a natural second-baseman ... BUT ... I do like Keppinger playing second (or even DH'ing) ... BECAUSE ... he's clearly the best contact hitter on the team ... along with having the higest career batting average on the team! However, Rodriguez, Brignac, and Johnson have apparently learned nothing about hitting over the past season or two! (?)
And Longoria seems to have the talent and skills to ultimately go down as one of the best third basemen of all time ... and no reasonably sane person would even think of having him play any other position at this time.
I don't think Upton playing every day will offensively match what Joyce can contribute if he plays every day ... Joyce seems to be playing left well-enough ... and Jennings seems better in center than Upton ... so ... ??? (The real problem here is there's no really decent fourth outfielder currently available.)