Joey Votto returned from the disabled list yesterday, but wasn’t in the Reds’ starting lineup and didn’t appear in the game off the bench.
That all changes this afternoon, as Votto officially completes his comeback from knee surgery by being in the lineup for the first time since July 15.
It’ll be interesting to see how often (and how well) Votto plays down the stretch, because Todd Frazier’s emergence in his absence leaves manager Dusty Baker with some tough lineup decisions and Votto admitted yesterday that he’s returning despite not being 100 percent healthy.
For today’s game Votto is starting at first base and batting third, while Frazier is starting at third base with Scott Rolen on the bench.
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.