The San Francisco Giants finished the 2017 Major League Baseball season in the National League West cellar 40 games behind the division-winning Los Angeles Dodgers. However, they moved forward with their win-now philosophy Wednesday with the acquisition of Tampa Bay third baseman Evan Longoria.
Last season, the Giants were last in baseball in home runs, with no player on the roster hitting 20. They had set up a trade to land Giancarlo Stanton from the Miami Marlins, but that feel through when he would not waive his no-trade clause to play in San Francisco opting for New York City and the Yankees instead.
Longoria, who is 32, ended the 2017 season batting .261, with 20 homers for Tampa Bay. He ended the season ranked as league average, which is the first time during his career of 10 years he was not ranked as above average.
He has another five years left on his current $86 million contract and Tampa has agreed to help pay some of what remains.
Tampa Bay drafted Longoria from Long Beach State in 2006 as the No. 3 pick overall. Some consider the third baseman to be Tampa’s greatest player ever.
In exchange, the Rays will receive Denard Span an outfielder who has $13 million remaining on his contract. Included in the deal was a pair of minor league pitchers and Christian Arroyo a 22-year old infielder who was the top prospect for the Giants amongst their position players starting the season.
Arroyo debuted in the majors at third last season hitting just .192 in only 34 games. Pablo Sandoval ended the season for San Francisco at third base but batted only .225 over 47 games.
The Giants still need help with the outfield, but the key to their success in the NL West depends upon their pitching.
San Francisco has a strong first three in their rotation with Madison Bumgarner, Jeff Samardzija and Johnny Cueto. The three will be counted on for 200 innings of work apiece. Of the six pitchers for the Giants last season who threw for over 100 innings, just Bumgarner was ranked above average for the league, and he only pitched 17 games due to injury.
The NL West will now have four of the league’s top 15 players at third base – Nolan Arenado who plays for the Rockies is fourth, Justin Turner for the Dodgers is fifth, Jake Lamb for the Diamondbacks is 14th and Longoria is 15th.