The San Francisco Giants, eager to put the disappointing 2017 behind them, made a big move by trading for Evan Longoria from the Tampa Bay Rays.
The 32-year old third baseman joins the Giants after 10 seasons with the Rays, and has $81 million owed to him over the next 5 seasons. In 2023 there’s a $13 million team option, or a $5 million buyout if the Giants (or any other team that he might play for) don’t want him anymore.
Christian Arroyo who played 34 games last season, Denard Span and his expiring deal along with young pitchers Stephen Woods and Matt Krook, both yet to make their major league debuts, join the Rays.
Longoria is a 3-time All-Star and one-time Silver Slugger, along with 3 Gold Glove awards. However, his numbers suggest the Giants added a player clearly on the downside of his career. His downside is still batting .261 with .424 slugging and 20 home runs while winning a gold glove in 2017, but the offense is obviously on the way down. Over the last four seasons, Longoria has batted just .264 (six points beneath his career average) and with 99 home runs and a .320 OBP. His 36 home runs in 2016 seem like the odd season out, not the one the Giants can hope to see from him down the line.
And still, Longoria is an interesting addition. Even if his power and accuracy with the bat aren’t what they used to be. He doesn’t miss games (averaging 160 games since 2014 per season), his glove is fantastic and his contract isn’t disastrous, especially if he keeps up what he’s giving teams right now. Maybe a switch to the National League will give the AL-lifer a boost, as the Giants try to put their worst season since 1994 in the rearview mirror.
For the Rays, besides the move towards an uncertain future and the salary relief, this is a move that rids the team of the franchise’s best player every. Face of a franchise, and someone who has been part of every winning season this organization has had, including the four postseason performances from 2008 (World Series) to 2013. The future of the Rays in a very difficult division was uncertain before this move. Now that aspect has increased tenfold.