Royals name Jonathan Broxton as Joakim Soria’s replacement

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After staying mum on the topic for the past couple of weeks, Royals manager Ned Yost told Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star this afternoon that Jonathan Broxton will replace Joakim Soria as the team’s closer.

This announcement doesn’t come a big surprise. Sure, Broxton has that “proven closer” tag which managers seem to dig, but he was also healthy and effective this spring following elbow surgery last September. After signing a one-year, $4 million deal with the Royals over the winter, the 27-year-old right-hander posted a 1.13 ERA and 11/4 K/BB ratio over eight innings during Cactus League action.

Greg Holland was the other legitimate contender for the gig. The 26-year-old right-hander had a 1.80 ERA and 74/19 K/BB ratio over 60 innings last season and pitched just fine this spring, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he gets a shot before long. If the Royals fall out of the race, Broxton could easily become trade bait.

The Giants are interested in Evan Longoria

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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.