Giants Find a Third Baseman in Evan Longoria

The Giants had a hole at third base. The Rays are cutting payroll and looking to the future, again. So today, they struck a deal.

Longoria has $86 million left over the remaining five years of his contract, so Span’s inclusion is a salary offset in order to help the team stay under the CBT threshold. The Rays are also sending an undisclosed amount of cash in the deal, so we’re exactly sure how much of that $86 million the Giants are picking up.

Longoria is still a nice player, projected for +3 WAR in 2018, but I do wonder if the Giants should have just signed Todd Frazier instead. For comparison, here are their numbers over the last three years.

Third Base Comparison
Evan Longoria 2032 0.268 0.320 0.461 0.330 109 3.2 25.0 13.9 11.1
Todd Frazier 1920 0.233 0.317 0.466 0.334 110 -1.8 20.1 13.7 10.0

Both the crowd and I thought Frazier would sign for 3/$42M, or roughly half of what Longoria is still owed. Signing Frazier wouldn’t have cleared Span’s money off the books, of course, but they probably could have gotten a comparable player for a less significant financial commitment without surrendering with any real talent.

Of course, neither of the pitchers in this deal look like much, and Christian Arroyo has always struck me as wildly overrated, so I don’t think the Giants gave up tons of long-term value here. But given that they aren’t that close to contention, I’m not sure Longoria moves the needle enough to justify taking on this kind of money. Even with Longoria, the Giants still aren’t very good, and now they have even less money to spend to fix their dreadful outfield.

Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

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6 years ago

I recall the days Longo was firmly entrenched as number one trade asset in baseball. Aging I am.