The Rays weren’t going to sit out of offseason trade discussions forever, and with a recent rumor they’re finally in the mix — albeit behind their division cohorts the Red Sox, Yankees, and Orioles when it comes to rumors and signings and trades. But does this rumor carry any actual weight?
The Giants would like to trade for Evan Longoria, please. Pretty please. According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, they would need to send Hunter Pence or Denard Span (and their hefty contracts) the other way to make anything work.
Why it makes sense for the Giants
[Looks at people that spent time at third base for San Francisco in 2017] Yeah, that’s why.
Longoria is signed through 2023 (his contract includes a club option for that year) at a $13.5 million salary in 2018, and, despite being 32 years old, has kept his recent defensive numbers in line with his career stats as well as even as his offensive numbers have taken a slight dip (in 2017 he hit .261/.313/.424 with 20 home runs and 86 RBIs).
Even though there’s no guarantee — or even a likely chance — that Longoria’s numbers stay at this level until he’s 37 years old, it’s a step up from what the Giants are working with right now. A big step up. And if they do indeed want to be in the mix for a World Series (or even a postseason berth) next season, they need that step up.
Why it makes sense for the Rays
Well, that’s the thing. It doesn’t really. Any trade for Longoria would need to involve some quality assets that the Rays could incorporate into their future and with the Giants also trying to turn things around their return they might not want to cough up the required pieces.
Those assets become even more important a facet when you consider the Giants want to send one of their bigger remaining contracts back the other way to alleviate their salary commitments. While the Rays only had $92 million committed in 2017, Pence is due $18.5 million and Span is due $23 million over the next two years. And the Rays would be getting ... Pence and Span. That’s not exactly an even trade.
If it were any other player, the gap between what the Giants want and an actual trade agreement might be a closer leap but this is Longoria. He’s the face of the Rays and has only ever played for Tampa Bay and sending him elsewhere without a reasonable return coming back to the team would not only be a bad choice for the franchise but wouldn’t exactly put the front office in good standing with the fans.
D+. There are too many hoops to jump through for the Rays to make this deal. Like the Blue Jays, the Rays don’t really have a shot in the AL East in 2018 and they know it. But they should also not make deals just to make deals, and have other players to shop around such as Chris Archer. A Longoria trade would have to be a perfect situation for the Rays to pull the trigger, and this is far from that.
While the two teams could haggle and figure something out, it looks like a rumor that is coming from one front office because they obviously like a good player, but that doesn’t have any real chance of happening.