Giants Acquire Evan Longoria From Rays in Blockbuster
The greatest player in Rays franchise history is moving on.
The Rays traded iconic third baseman Evan Longoria and cash considerations to the Giants on Thursday, receiving veteran outfielder Denard Span and three prospects in return: infielder Christian Arroyo, lefthander Matt Krook and righthander Stephen Woods.
The Giants have struggled to find a suitable everyday third baseman in recent years, and now bring in a three-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove Award winner in Longoria.
Longoria, who the Rays drafted third overall in 2006, leaves as the franchise's all-time leader in plate appearances, runs, doubles, home runs, total bases, RBIs and walks, as well as career WAR.
“Evan is our greatest Ray," owner Stuart Sternberg said in a statement. "For a decade, he’s been at the center of all of our successes, and it’s a very emotional parting for us all. I speak for our entire organization in wishing Evan and his wonderful family our absolute best.”
Rays acquire: Denard Span, OF (MLB) Age: 33
Span spent the last two seasons as the Giants' starting center fielder and saw his defensive performance decline substantially with age, with advanced metrics rating him one of the worst defensive center fielders in all of baseball the last two years. He still showed some offensive ability and hit .272 with a career-high 12 home runs, 43 RBIs, 12 stolen bases and a .756 OPS out of the leadoff spot last year. Span will fight for time in the Rays outfield rotation with Kevin Kiermeier, Corey Dickerson and Steven Souza and is due $11 million in 2018. He has a $12 million team option for 2019 as well that can be declined with a $4 million buyout.
Christian Arroyo, INF (Triple-A Sacramento) Age: 22
Arroyo, a Tampa native and graduate of Brooksville's Hernando High about an hour from Tropicana Field, made his major league debut in 2017 and ranked as the Giants No. 4 prospect after the season. He hit .192/.244/.304 in 35 games in his injury-plagued first big league stint. Scouts have long been confident Arroyo will hit for average. He has a straightforward swing and has demonstrated time and time again he has the hand-eye and bat-to-ball skills of a pure hitter. At this point, the general consensus among evaluators is that 10-15 home runs is the most that can be expected from Arroyo—he’s yet to reach double digits in home runs in any season. A shortstop for much of his minor league career, Arroyo doesn’t have the range expected at the position and he’s not the defender Willy Adames is. It’s more likely he plays second or third base, where he has a chance to be an above-average defender. Arroyo projects as a solid regular but is unlikely to end up as an all-star-caliber player. He is big league ready and should provide enough batting average/on-base percentage and defense to be a useful everyday infielder.
Matt Krook, LHP (High Class A San Jose) Age: 23
Krook was set to rank 19th on the Baseball America Giants Top 30 Prospects list in the upcoming Prospect Handbook. He has already survived Tommy John surgery and severe wildness that ruined his junior season at Oregon. Those control troubles carried over to pro ball, but everything seemed to click for Krook when the Giants moved him to the bullpen at the end of the season. He walked only one while striking out 17 in his final 10.2 innings of work and posted a 1.02 ERA and .121 opponent average as a reliever. Krook’s fastball movement is exceptional at its best and it draws Zach Britton comparisons, giving him a chance to move quickly if the Rays keep him in the bullpen.
Royals Return To The Rule 5 Well
The Royals have mined for pitchers in the Rule 5 draft in recent seasons and this time came away with Stephen Woods.
Stephen Woods, RHP (Low Class A Augusta) Age: 22
Woods, who was set to rank 25th on the Baseball America Giants Top 30 Prospects list, has battled control problems like Krook. And like Krook he has started to show signs of harnessing his solid but wild stuff. His 90-96 mph fastball and 11-to-5 sharp curveball give him a pair of big league-caliber pitches although, he’ll have to throw many more strikes if he wants to remain a starter. Long-term, he’s most likely a solid relief arm as he gets ready to head to high Class A in 2018.
Giants acquire: Evan Longoria, 3B (MLB) Age: 32
Longoria is an all-time great who still has something left in the tank. He has hit at least 20 home runs each of the last five seasons, including a career-high 36 in 2016, and has yet to post an OPS+ below 100 in his career. He won his third Gold Glove last year and remains sharp at the hot corner defensively. After having nine different players start at third base last year, the Giants made a clear and decisive upgrade in Longoria, although it will come at a cost. Longoria is signed five more years through 2022, his age-36 season, for $81 million. He also has a $13 million team option in 2023 or a $5 million buyout.