Earlier today, it was officially announced that the San Francisco Giants had acquired Evan Longoria from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for infield prospect Christian Arroyo, veteran outfielder Denard Span, and Single-A pitchers Matt Krook and Stephen Woods. Upon being added to the Rays’ system, Arroyo immediately became Tampa’s No. 4 prospect, according to MLB.com.
I’ll be honest — I don’t really know what the Giants are doing here. I mean, I do, but I don’t. They had money to spend after they missed out on Giancarlo Stanton, but — all due respect to Longoria — he’s not the impact bat that he once was, and he still has five years and $81 million with a $13 million club option remaining on his contract.
Over his first six major league seasons, Longoria had an OPS of .870. Since the start of 2014, a span in which Longoria has averaged 160 games over four seasons, the 32-year-old has a .767 OPS. More recently, his .737 OPS in 2017 ranked as the second worst of his career — his first being a mark of .724 in 2014 — both of which are below the league average from this season (.750).
Defensively, you could make the case that Longoria is still a top three defender at the third base position in the league. A Gold Glove award in 2017 certainly backs that up. However, the Giants didn’t add Longoria to scoop grounders. That’s part of it, sure, but they’re hoping for more of the 2016 version of Longoria, a season in which the three-time Gold Glove award winner hit .273 with an .840 OPS, 36 homers, 41 doubles and 98 RBI.
Keep in mind, he’s only two years removed from that stellar season, but it’s also important to note that his 2016 campaign is the outlier over his last four seasons. Not that the other three seasons were “bad” per se; they just pale in comparison to his rookie season of 2008 through his 2013 seasons.
After the 2012 season, Longoria signed a team-friendly six-year, $100 million extension with the Rays, which kept the three-time All Star’s salary at a reasonable rate for a small market team like Tampa for the time being. He made $13 million this past season, and is set to make $13.5 million in 2018, $14.5 million in 2019, $15 million in 2020, $18.5 million in 2021, $19.5 million in 2022, and has that aforementioned $13 million club option for 2023. However, that $13 million option bumps up to $18 million based on end of the year awards in 2022.
While I think the point here is pretty clear — Longoria hasn’t been the same hitter in recent years that made him a three-time All Star earlier in his career — he’s most definitely an upgrade over what the Giants had last season. In 2017, the Giants ranked dead last in the majors in OPS from the third base position (.568). It was as bad as it gets. It would seem as though it’s San Francisco’s hope that a change of scenery and a passionate fan base can rejuvenate the former first-round, third overall pick from the 2006 MLB Draft.