Longoria has spent his entire 10-year career with Tampa Bay, winning Rookie of the Year honors in 2008 and claiming his third Gold Glove Award in 2017. Last season he hit.261 with 20 home runs - two more than any Giant. Now he goes across the country to lock down third base for the San Francisco Giants. Pablo Sandoval and Kelby Tomlinson platooned at the position in 2017 for San Francisco, but neither player provided much at all offensively. "Evan is a known player and quite frankly, you look at his baseball card, we're getting somebody who's not only been an accomplished third baseman of note but hits in the middle of the order and improves our defense overnight". The Rays are expected to eat some of the $68 million still owed to Longoria as part of the deal.
"Evan is our greatest Ray", Tampa Bay principal owner Stuart Sternberg said in a statement.
While this winter's Major League Baseball free agent market remains curiously stagnant, with all but a handful of the top available hitters and starting pitchers still seeking employment for 2018, the trade market remains rich and thriving - two realities that are nearly certainly more than coincidental.
The greatest player in Rays franchise history is moving on. Additionally, multiple reports including one from Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic have indicated the Rays are sending the Giants cash back to complete the deal, so it's entirely possible the trade is cash-neutral for 2018, which would give the Giants more spending power to address their other needs of finding a center fielder and bullpen help.
Trading for Longoria also makes a large dent in the Giants' future payroll, as he's signed through the 2022 season and will make upward of $18 million in 2021 before commanding $19.5 million in 2022. "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".
Span gets $9 million plus possible performance bonuses next year, and the Rays inherit a $12 million mutual option for 2019 with a $4 million buyout. Meanwhile, the Giants added the veteran hit they've been seeking all offseason. Tampa Bay will give the Giants $2 million by this December 31 to cover Longoria's assignment bonus and an additional $3 million by October 31, 2022.