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The Sports Daily > The Giants Cove
Giants Trade for Longoria In Their Continuing Effort to Appear Relevant

San Francisco Giants executives are obviously dedicated to fulfilling what they perceive is their #1 responsibility: to try to appear relevant to the fanbase for the upcoming season at AT&T Park.

But even after their disastrous 64-98 record last season, this is a team not interested in long-term planning or addressing their global needs. They see their main responsibility as maintaining the appearance of a winning organization, not actually building a winning organization.

What’s particularly insulting is that San Francisco’s front office feels they can easily manipulate their loyal fanbase to chew and swallow just about anything they dish up.

The Giants just completed a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays, picking up ten-year veteran third baseman Evan Longoria in exchange for San Francisco’s only player in MLB’s Top 100 prospects, 22-year-old third baseman Christian Arroyo, and OF Denard Span.

Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Evan Longoria will turn 33 in 2018, and is coming off the worst offensive year of his career.

In 156 games he put up a .737 OPS (with a 100 OPS+), batting .261 in 677 plate appearances.

The positives on Longoria are his outstanding defense and the fact that his career .823 OPS is extremely good. Defensively, San Francisco’s infield now looks very solid with Brandon Belt at 1B, Joe Panik at 2B, Brandon Crawford at short, and Longoria at the hot corner.

But this is a typical Giants front office move.

Pick up a player on the downside of his career who had one good season [insert number here] years ago. Then hope he “gets back to that”.

(In the case of starter Jeff Samardzija, when the Giants signed him to a $90 million deal in 2016, he had never had an “outstanding” season in his eight-year career. That record still stands.)

This trade is a major long-term salary dump for the Rays, who, even though they pulled off a 80-82 3rd place finish last season in the highly competitive AL East, are determined to reconstruct their roster.

Tampa has a slew of promising young players in their highly rated farm system, including seven players on MLB’s top 100 list. (Eight now, including Arroyo.)

The Rays already have a history of pawning off players on the downside to the San Francisco Giants and getting young talent in return.

Listed as Tampa’s #11 team prospect is 20-year-old shortstop Lucius Fox. Fox was an international pick up whom the Giants drafted and paid $6 million, and then traded in 2015 to Tampa Bay along with 3B Matt Duffy for ineffective starter Matt Moore.

Christian Arroyo now goes to the team he rooted for growing up, and the Tampa Bay native will have a great chance to win the Rays third base job in Spring Training next year.

Also going to Tampa in the deal are two Giants pitching prospects that Fangraphs described as having “quality stuff”.

RHP Stephen Woods, 22, who looks to develop into a hard throwing bullpen piece, and 23-year-old LHP Matt Krook who has a 96 MPH fastball with movement and projects as a starter.

Denard Span ends his two seasons in San Francisco posting a .732 OPS (and a OPS+ of 105), with a .268 BA, and defense that featured a stunning lack of range and an increasingly weak arm.

There are a number of complex cash considerations in this deal. The reports are that Tampa will include $14.5 million as part of the trade, $9.5m of which is deferred from 2025-29. Basically, the Giants will end up owing Longoria $67 million from 2019 through 2022, plus a $5m club buyout in 2023 (minus some signing bonus money).

But the main concern here is that San Francisco is already awash with aging players on long-term deals. Longoria’s will be yet another onerous contract commitment to a player about to go through his mid-30s (Longoria turns 37 in 2022).

Absent any further salary dumps, the Giants now have several sources of revenue to dedicate to fixing their outfield, bullpen, and starting pitching issues. And to try and build up some depth on the 40-man roster to cover the predictable number of injuries every team experiences each season.

Broadly, San Francisco had about $180 million in existing contract obligations. Which left about $15 million to spend in front of the 2018 MLB luxury tax limit ($197m).

They also saved about $9 million in the Matt Moore to Texas deal, and several million (in 2018) in the Longoria trade. If that’s all relatively correct, San Francisco has about $27 million to spend on another outfielder and maybe one addition to the bullpen.

If all that gets done, it will certainly “appear” to make the chances for the Giants to finish at around .500 in 2018 a little brighter following their 2017 Breakdown by the Bay.

6 thoughts on “Giants Trade for Longoria In Their Continuing Effort to Appear Relevant

  1. With this latest move for Longaria its time to step back and look at things from a distance. The Giants insist on attempting to ” reload ” rather than ” rebuild “. Why ? The first thing that comes to mind is Brian Sabean is 61 and Bruce Bochy is 62. Neither have to time to sit through a few year ” rebuilding ” program. So it would only make sense. Neither will be around when the other shoe drops and ” rebuilding ” is the only option. When in happens Evans has always been a good ” company ” man and will be assigned another ” position ” once the big organizational shake-up becomes inevitable.
    So the next step for 2018 will be to hire 1 or 2 other FA’s in an attempt to push the team closer to the possibility of a .500 season. The idea is the fans will accept that and it might shore up a big drop in attendance.
    Unfortunately, the bottom line in all of this is the folks running the team are more concerned with their own timelines than that of the team. In a year Bochy will retire… Sabean will step further aside and some new people will come in to pick up the pieces.
    Baer, Sabean, Evans and Bochy all being individually wealthy are being ridiculous to think they can postpone or even having the fans believe they can postpose the inevitable. When rebuilding is the only viable option it would be best to drop a match and ” let in burn “.
    Dropping further millions on middle aged, half in the tank, close to over the hill veteran FA’s is not only unimaginative but a total waste of money. Things will only change when those responsible for bad decisions get their walking papers. So much wasted time.

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  2. If this is manipulation then it seems to me that you are advocating for a complete tear down. Why keep any of the mainstays including Posey and, when their bullpen blew an inordinate number of games. Fix the bullpen, keep guys healthy (Bumgarner, Belt, Panik, Melancon, Smith all were on the dl for part or all of the year; Span and Pence spent time there as well and while they are not excellent, they were much better than their replacements ie. Parker/Williamson), get some pop, and get more consistent with the rotation and the team should put up good numbers. These require tweaks, not major changes.

    With respect to Longoria, they made the team better and saved money… And further down the line, if you assume his bat will be terrible, his defense probably will not decline anywhere near as much as it would if he were playing up the middle or in the outfield. A contract that pays roughly 12-13mm for a guy who is going to give you consistently excellent defense with some pop at the plate is not bad.

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  3. With Longoria at 3rd, San Francisco now has the best defensive infield in the National League.
    • C Posey
    • 1B Belt
    • 2B Panik
    • SS Crawford
    • 3B Longoria
    Infielders Pablo Sandoval and Kelby Tomlinson with backup catcher Nick Hundley combine to make up a championship caliber infield.

    SF’s greatest outfield need is an above average defensive center fielder. Pence can hold down RF for another year but they’ve got work to do filling out Left and Center Fields.

    With Melancon and Wil Smith on the mend the bullpen shows a lot of promise. The starting pitching has a lot of upside as well. It’s realistic to for the Giants to become the 2018 World Series Champions.

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    1. joe t–
      Defense is always important but there will be little difference between the Giants infield defense and the infield defense of Washington, the Dodgers, Colorado, and the Cubs.

      What San Francisco desperately needs is a huge increase in run production and power. And better performances by their starting pitchers.

      They also need serious upgrades in the bullpen and a lot more depth all around. Every team has key injuries every season. Well built 40-man rosters can survive the impact of player injuries and still win ballgames.

      The Giants are completely one dimensional– an injury to any of their key players and they’re derailed. Look at Houston, the Cubs, Arizona, LA, Cleveland, and so on. All those teams lost one or more key players to injuries in 2017 but they were built to keep winning.

      I like when fans believe in their team, especially the Giants. But even after they add another bat there’s little chance they finish much over .500.

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  4. Donald makes some great points. What’s being suggested is the Giants need to rebuild from within starting with management commitment to analytics, rebuilding the farm system and hiring staff with track records of recognizing and contributing to organizational success. The recent hiring of David Bell as VP of Player Development Is a case in point. Bell looks so much like another ” Old School ” hiring the Giants are known to do. Look up who the Dodgers have as GM and all questions will be answered. For those who remember Jack Hiatt in the Giants front office for years it will bring back memories of wheel spinning and getting no where in developing future front line players.

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