Before he was a household name in the political world Nate Silver wrote about baseball and used his projection skills for batting averages and ERAs instead of electoral college votes.
Now that the election is over Silver took a break from politics to analyze the American League MVP race between Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout, and in a lengthy, well-written, numbers-driven piece for the New York Times he argues that Trout should win the award.
Silver presents most of the same numbers and makes most of the same arguments that various other sabermetrically inclined writers have been doing for the past month, but the words probably carry a little more weight coming from him and I’d be curious to find out how many readers were swayed by his article when they might otherwise have brushed aside the same ideas from someone without so much cachet.
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.