Albert Pujols remains homerless for the Angels, but the man signed to replace him in the Cardinals’ lineup went deep twice yesterday and drove in seven runs.
Carlos Beltran now has seven homers in 23 games for St. Louis, and he’s hitting .279 with a .398 on-base percentage and .535 slugging percentage to essentially match last season’s excellent production for the Mets and Giants.
Those numbers can’t match vintage Pujols production, but his .933 OPS is nearly double Pujols’ current .539 mark and Beltran looks like an absolute bargain on a two-year, $26 million deal. And perhaps most importantly he’s been healthy, starting his 17th straight game last night and, as Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports, talking his way into the lineup when manager Mike Matheny wanted to give him a day off.
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.