Joe Strauss of the Post-Dispatch, in response to a reader’s question about why the Cardinals front office has been so quiet since the Holliday signing, says “Though the club won’t confirm talks, negotiations with Pujols are also taking up time.”
That’s got to be encouraging for Cards fans, though I wonder if any real progress can be made. As his representatives said earlier this week, he’s about to become a papa again, so you can’t assume he’s 100% engaged with anything apart from that. At the same time Pujols is on record as saying that he won’t negotiate during the season. It’s unclear if that means spring training too, but either way, there isn’t exactly a ton of time to make anything happen right now.
Of course it’s important to remember that Pujols is signed through 2011, not 2010. So while it would be nice to do a deal, it’s not essential that an extension gets done right this moment.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today says that the San Francisco Giants “have keen interest” in Rays third baseman Evan Longoria.
Longoria is coming off his worst season as a major leaguer, having hit .261/.313/.424 with 20 homers in 2017. He’s also still owed $86 million through 2022. Which, back when the deal was signed seemed like quite a bargain for the Rays — and likely has been over the duration of the contract — but now seems somewhat steep for the 32 year-old third baseman. That said, the Giants currently have Pablo Sandoval penciled in at third base on their depth chart, so Longoria would definitely be an upgrade, even if 2017’s dip wasn’t just a blip.
Nightengale says that for the Giants to take on Longoria, the Rays would have to take on a high salary veteran such as Denard Span or Hunter Pence. Span is owed $9 million in 2018, with a $4 million buyout on a $12 million option for 2019. Pence is owed $18.5 million in 2018 in the final year of his contract and has a full no-trade clause.
If he stays with the Rays, Longoria will achieve 10-5 rights — full no-trade protection due to being a ten-year veteran with five years of service on the same club — so if the Rays are going to move him, it’ll be much easier this offseason, not once the 2018 season begins.