by Steve Carney

It's true that the Tampa Bay Rays lost a number of their high-recognition names to their lineup.  Outfielder B.J. Upton and first baseman Carlos Pena left in free agency.  Pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis were involved in a trade.  However, third baseman Evan Longoria believes the group in the clubhouse for 2013 could be even tighter than in years past.

"For as many character guys as we lost, we added a lot more guys that have bought in quickly to what we're trying to do here.  And I think for that reason we're going to be a better team," the third baseman said.  "It seemed like we meshed really quickly in the spring, and that the guys we brought in were on board really quickly with what we're trying to do here and that is realy a big deal for this group."

As for why this group seems tighter than in years past, Longoria had a very interesting answer.  Click below to hear it in Longoria's own words.