Giants acquire Longoria from Rays for 4 players

AP
An offense-producing third baseman the Giants sought, Longoria was traded from Tampa Bay for outfielder Denard Span, infielder Christian Arroyo and two minor league pitchers.
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The San Francisco Giants have acquired infielder Evan Longoria (above) and cash from the Tampa Bay Rays for outfielder Denard Span, infielder Christian Arroyo and two minor league pitchers. The teams announced the moves on December 20, 2017.

Evan Longoria expects to win immediately with the San Francisco Giants, whose run of success in even years is well documented — and the club's new third baseman knows all about that.

The Giants' brass realizes adding Longoria to the lineup and an already-talented infield gives San Francisco a far better chance of bouncing back from a surprising last-place season in the National League West.

An offense-producing third baseman the Giants sought this winter, Longoria was traded from Tampa Bay on Wednesday for outfielder Denard Span, star infield prospect Christian Arroyo and two minor league pitchers.

"I'm looking forward to bringing everything I can and more to the clubhouse and the organization and being back in the postseason and winning like I expect to do," Longoria said. "It's an even year coming up and I know the Giants win in even years. That I am looking forward to."

The position had been a priority for San Francisco, and Longoria's durability means so much, too. He has played at least 156 games in each of the past five years, all 162 in 2014, and also hit 20 or more homers in each of those five seasons.

"He's sorely needed and will be a great addition for us," Giants general manager Bobby Evans said.

It marked the first big offseason move by each organization.

Tampa Bay in effect is responsible for US$14.5 million of the US$88 million Longoria is owed, and the Rays took on US$13 million in guaranteed money due Span.

Longoria had US$86 million in remaining guaranteed salary and buyout as part of a contract that runs through 2022 and contains a 2023 club option. The US$9.5 million in deferred money included in that total was converted to an assignment bonus payable by the Rays from 2025-29. Tampa Bay will give the Giants US$2 million by this December 31 to cover Longoria's assignment bonus and an additional US$3 million by October 31, 2022.

Longest-tenured player

The 32-year-old leaves Tampa Bay as the longest-tenured player in franchise history, after spending 10 of his big league seasons in a Rays uniform. He is the club's leader with 1,435 games, 261 home runs and 892 RBIs. Longoria started all 30 of the Rays' postseason games at third.

Longoria batted .261 with 20 homers and 86 RBIs last season and is the 2008 American League Rookie of the Year and three-time Gold Glover.

Longoria grew up in Southern California as an Angels fan but has plenty of friends who cheer for the rival Dodgers. "I'm going to be saying a lot of sorries."

Also, he's getting off turf, noting, "I'm excited to be playing on grass."

Rays general manager Erik Neander said trading Longoria "was in the best long-term interest of our franchise".

Still, he was the face of a small-market franchise and meant so much to the city.

"The decision itself was one that was incredibly difficult for us to make," Neander said.

The 33-year-old Span has hit .283 with 60 homers and 432 RBIs over 10 years in the majors, but San Francisco was looking for more athleticism and steady defense in the outfield. In fact, manager Bruce Bochy had approached Span about the possibility of playing left field going forward. Span led the Giants last season with 73 runs scored despite a stint on the 10-day disabled list. He previously played for the Nationals and the Twins.

Bochy expects Longoria to bat third or cleanup, and he can already envision Longoria as part of a top infield with Gold Glove shortstop Brandon Crawford, second baseman Joe Panik and Brandon Belt at first.

"When you talk about the elite third basemen of the game, Evan's name is going to be there. He's been one of the most consistent third basemen in the game," Bochy said. "It's going to be one of the best infield defenses in the game."

Arroyo, a first-round draft pick out of high school in 2013 about an hour north of Tampa in Brooksville, was one of the Giants' top prospects but didn't play in the majors after June 2 because of a broken left hand. He batted .192 with three homers and 14 RBIs in 34 games. The Rays have been watching him for years and believe he is making significant strides at the plate.

"That's the cost of doing business," Brian Sabean, Giants executive vice president of baseball operations, said of sending Arroyo in the deal.

The Giants also sent right-hander Stephen Woods and left-hander Matt Krook to the Rays, who acquired third baseman Matt Duffy from the Giants at the 2016 trade deadline for Matt Moore. The left-handed Moore was dealt last week to Texas.

San Francisco, which won World Series titles in 2010, '12 and '14, made its first big offseason move after missing out on Giancarlo Stanton and Japanese star Shohei Ohtani. The Giants went 64-98 to avoid the club's first 100-loss season since 1985.

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