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Breaking Angles: The Evan Longoria Trade

Evan Longoria by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY SA-2.0

Breaking Angles: The Evan Longoria Trade

Estimated Reading Time: 4 Minutes

For the Giants

Obviously, the team has holes everywhere and Longoria will plug one at third base. Evan Longoria is still an incredible defensive player, so they don’t need to worry about him declining at third and being unused or moved to first. He can play third for at least three more years, unlike many AL players that move to the NL. Also, Longoria’s numbers are solid but declining, however, he has not had a consistent offensive threat to hit in front of him for at least four or five years. Sure San Francisco is a difficult park for hitters, but if you have guys like Buster Posey hitting in front of him his production will be fine.

The biggest worry is the contract. It is an awful one. It was one of those contracts that an organization felt obliged to give to a 30-year-old franchise player. Longoria at age 36 is going to be making almost 20 million dollars. The only batters older than Longoria and making more money in 2022 are Miguel Cabrera, Joey Votto, and Robinson Cano. This money is going to a guy that has also played his entire career on Astroturf and played almost 1,500 games in his career (2012 being the only one affected by injuries). The Giants are focused on this year, but this could hurt in the long run.

For the Rays

The deal says a lot about the way the direction of the franchise is headed. They have traded away their franchise player and the best player to wear a Rays uniform in the clubs history. It is a tough pill to swallow for fans. I understand the negative backlash in the area towards ownership, especially when this appears to be another payroll slash. However, after observing the trade further the organization appears to make some sense.

As a Rays fan, the fan base has to accept that it is just not smart to think we can pay 20 million for a player when he is 36, no matter his relationship to the franchise. It just does not work like that, sports is a business of course. Over the years successful small market teams start with young players who turn into great players on even better contracts. From that point, you complete the team with great role players around it. The Rays were a great example of this during the 2008 World Series run (Kazmir, Longoria, Shields, Garza, Crawford with guys like Peña, Balfour, Dan Johnson, and Zobrist to plug holes). I honestly believe they should have traded Longoria after last year when he had a resurgence (36 HRs, 100 RBIs, .840 OPS).

Instead, they decided to cash in now and it signals a rebuild which I am okay with. I would rather the franchise rebuild than stay in the middle of the pack without knowing if they are trying to contend or trying to rebuild too (sorry Mets, but looking at you). Span is a salary dump, the two prospects are not ranked highly, but that leaves the real get, Christian Arroyo (who grew up in Hernando County, Florida). He is a great get in this trade and can be a serviceable player for many years. Arroyo is someone they can manage in terms of salary too and try to develop him. He is a very solid defensive 3B and compliments the other infield prospects very well (Willy Adames, Brendan McKay, Wander Franco). Yet the one thing I take away from this trade the most is that ownership is pushing the needle for the Rays to move from St. Petersburg to Tampa or out of Florida altogether.

The attendance will suffer even more and the team will be without a “franchise player” (Archer pitches once in five nights, so tough to qualify him and Kiermaier has been hurt 75% of the time). I would not be surprised if after the year the ownership says, “Hey St. Pete is again not turning out, we traded away Longoria in order to try a new route and need fans to show support. It looks like Tampa is the only option for that, let us get the new stadium we want so badly”. It’s an awful way to do it, but this is how it appears it will go down.

Two final quick notes about the trade. 1. The Rays and the Giants have chemistry after the Moore trade so no surprise there. 2. This has not been mentioned many places but trading Longoria to a contender at a time when he can contribute is extremely respectful to him. I highly doubt over the next five years he would have an opportunity to win a championship with the Rays or even make the postseason, so I applaud the organization for at least considering that chance when trading him.

So long Evan and good luck in San Francisco!

William Glenn is a student at Villanova University who was born and raised in St. Petersburg, Florida. William is a huge Tampa Bay Rays fan and continues to struggle with the loss of every decent player and Evan Longoria.

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