Evan Longoria was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays with the third overall pick in the 2006 Major League Baseball draft
(AP Photo/Gail Burton, File)
SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francisco Giants found the offense-producing third baseman they sought this offseason, acquiring Evan Longoria and cash from the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday for outfielder Denard Span, infielder Christian Arroyo and two minor league pitchers.
The 32-year-old Longoria leaves Tampa Bay as the longest-tenured player in franchise history, after spending nearly 10 seasons in a Rays uniform. He is the club’s all-time leader with 1,435 games played, 261 home runs and 892 RBIs. Of the 30 postseason games in Rays history, all 30 have featured Longoria starting at third base.
Longoria batted .261 with 20 homers and 86 RBIs last season. He is expected to fill a significant void for San Francisco at third, where the Giants mixed and matched during a surprising last-place season in 2017. Longoria has played at least 156 games in each of the past five seasons. He was the AL Rookie of the Year in 2008 and won three Gold Gloves.
“Evan gives us a Gold Glove-caliber player at third base and also provides us a middle of the order presence in the lineup,” Giants general manager Bobby Evans said. “His durability and leadership will strengthen our club moving forward.”
In November 2012, Longoria received a $136.6 million, 10-year contract with Tampa Bay that added six guaranteed seasons and $100 million to his previous deal. It includes a team option for 2023 that could make the agreement worth $144.6 million over 11 years.
Rays general manager Erik Neander said trading Longoria “was in the best long-term interest of our franchise.”
“The decision itself was one that was incredibly difficult for us to make,” Neander said.
The 33-year-old Span has hit .283 with 60 homers and 432 RBIs over 10 years in the majors, but San Francisco was looking for more athleticism and steady defense in the outfield. In fact, manager Bruce Bochy had approached Span about the possibility of playing left field going forward. Span led the Giants last season with 73 runs scored despite a stint on the 10-day disabled list. He previously played for the Nationals and the Twins.
Denard Span will suit up for this fourth team in 2018.
Arroyo, a first-round draft pick out of high school in 2013, was one of the Giants’ top prospects but didn’t play in the majors after June 2 because of a broken left hand. He batted .192 with three homers and 14 RBIs in 34 games. The Giants also are sending right-hander Stephen Woods and left-hander Matt Krook to the Rays.
San Francisco, which won World Series titles in 2010, ’12 and ’14, made its first big offseason move after missing out on Giancarlo Stanton and Japanese star Shohei Ohtani. The Giants went 64-98 to avoid the club’s first 100-loss season since 1985.
“This move fills an important need for our club and completes one of our offseason goals,” said Brian Sabean, Giants executive vice president of baseball operations. “Evan has been one of the best third basemen in the game over the last decade and we are thrilled to add him to the organization. Moving forward, we will continue to work on additional opportunities to improve the club for 2018.”