The Tampa Bay Rays have traded the best player in their franchise’s history. Third baseman Evan Longoria is heading to the San Francisco Giants in exchange for outfielder Denard Span, infielder Christian Arroyo and minor league pitchers Matt Krook and Stephen Woods. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times first reported the trade. Jeff Passan of Yahoo was the first to report the players heading back to the Rays.
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 seemed like a great deal several years back but now seems sort of hefty for where he is as a player. He has spent his entire career in Tampa Bay, hitting .270/.341/.483 (OPS+ 125) with 261 homers and 892 RBI since coming up as a rookie in 2008. While at 32 he is no longer the player he once was, he’s not far removed from being an above average bat at third base, having hit 36 homers and posting an OPS+ of 127 in 2016. He should improve the Giants lineup, especially given that they had Pablo Sandoval penciled in at third base on their depth chart until today.
Arroyo, the Giants first round pick in 2013, made his big league debut in 2017, playing in 34 games. He’s been a shortstop and second baseman in the minors. Krook, a lefty, was selected in the fourth round by the Giants in 2016 and topped out at high-A ball last year. Woods, a righty starter, was an eighth rounder of the Giants in 2016 who also played in A-ball last year. Including Span in the deal will allow the Giants to offset some salary and to keep them under the luxury tax. Span, who will turn 34 in spring training, hit .272/.329/.427 with 12 homers, 43 RBI and 12 stolen bases in 2017 as the Giants center fielder.
Perhaps this would’ve been a bigger deal a couple of years ago, but Longoria is still, he’s the most important player in Rays franchise history, and whenever a team trades a guy like that, it’s a pretty big deal.