Giants

After trading for Evan Longoria, what's next for Giants?

After trading for Evan Longoria, what's next for Giants?

SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants waited nearly three months after their final game to announce their first significant move of the offseason, so they understand that there’s not much of a grace period after the Evan Longoria trade. What’s next? Team officials seemed to know that question was coming Wednesday, and at several points they indicated that another hole was about to be filled. 

After calling the Longoria trade “a long-awaited day in our offseason dealings,” vice president of baseball operations Brian Sabean said, “We hope to add accordingly and we hope it will be as significant a move as this one.”

So what actually is next? In conversations with league sources after the Longoria deal, a picture emerged of what the team hopes to do after adding Longoria at third base. The Giants obviously want to add an outfielder, but they also have pivoted back to the relief market, and there’s some hope within the organization that the team can fill two holes -- outfield and bullpen -- with one trade. 

Team officials believe the trade market holds more appealing relief options at this point than free agency, and there is newfound financial flexibility to take on another team’s heftier deal after a pair of trades. The Matt Moore deal wiped $9 million off the books, and while exact figures of what the Giants got back from Tampa Bay are not known, the Giants actually are further under the tax line than they were before the Longoria trade. The combination of Denard Span’s contract and cash — believed to be about $14 million — shipped over from the Rays created additional breathing room.

Does that mean Jay Bruce? Andrew McCutchen? Billy Hamilton? While the Giants like Bruce, he is not said to be Plan A at this point, despite his name being connected to the Giants all week. McCutchen also is not on the front burner, but the team continues to discuss a Hamilton deal with the Reds. Those talks have been held up by high demands, and the Giants hope to be a bit more cautious with their prospects after dealing Christian Arroyo. Those long-term concerns continue to come into play for other potential moves; while national writers like to connect the Giants to Lorenzo Cain, the front office has held firm in a belief that it cannot sacrifice the two draft picks it would cost to sign a player who got the qualifying offer. 

The Longoria discussions picked up at the winter meetings, and while in Orlando, team officials talked to the Brewers about their outfield surplus and the White Sox about outfielder Avisail Garcia. The offseason started with the front office looking for a center fielder, but Sabean is said to be a big believer in prospect Steven Duggar, so it’s possible the Giants will ultimately spend most of their remaining resources on a corner bat. 

On paper, the Giants need a leadoff hitter, but manager Bruce Bochy said Wednesday that non-traditional options have already been discussed internally, so the Giants could instead opt for another power bat to hit sixth. Right now, the lineup has Longoria, Buster Posey and Brandon Belt hitting 3-4-5, although Belt is one of the names being thrown around for a top-of-the-order slot. 

The Giants seemed confident this week that the seeds have been planted for an outfield addition and a new reliever, but that won’t end the winter shopping. The front office is canvassing the starting pitching market for back-end guys, and it’s expected that at least one veteran is brought in to compete with Chris Stratton, Ty Blach, Tyler Beede and Andrew Suarez for the last two rotation spots. Even before the winter meetings, Evans was talking to veteran starters who could come into camp on a minor league deal and try to win a job. 

Durable Longoria ready for additional boost from ballpark, Giants fans

Durable Longoria ready for additional boost from ballpark, Giants fans

SAN FRANCISCO — The field at AT&T Park is covered with patches and small piles of dirt right now, showing the signs of a winter hosting holiday parties and concerts, and a week with plenty of rain. 

For Evan Longoria, though, that grass was a beautiful sight.

A month after a trade that had him switching coasts, Longoria was introduced at a press conference at AT&T Park and ran the usual gauntlet with team employees and season-ticket holders. He spent some time this week looking for housing in the Bay Area, but soon he’ll be back in Scottsdale, getting to know new teammates and preparing his body for the 2018 season. 

Longoria said his workouts have been a bit different with a new staff, but the goal remains the same. He is a player who prides himself on taking the field every day, and that’s one of the traits that drew the Giants to Longoria. He has played at least 156 games in five consecutive seasons, and 160 in four of those seasons. 

It’s no accident that Bruce Bochy has mentioned durability during every media session this season. Andrew McCutchen has a similar track record, and the Giants lineup certainly could use some stability, especially at third base, where seven different players made double-digit starts last season. Longoria will change that. 

“I have a desire to play every day, and I think that that is infectious,” he said. “Players that may feel the grind of a long season or might be in a little bit of a funk offensively or defensively or with pitching, something like that can give you a boost when you have guys around that you know come to play and compete on a daily basis, no matter what the circumstance is.”

[RELATED: Just a number? Longoria says slow down with concerns of Giants' aging roster]

For Longoria, who turned 32 early in the offseason, the circumstance has changed for the better. After years on the unforgiving turf at The Trop, he comes to a park and division featuring nothing but natural grass. 

“I hope it helps,” he said. “Going on the road (with the Rays), my body definitely felt better when I played on grass. I’m sure that it will help. It’s definitely not going to be a negative. Not playing on the turf anymore is something that crossed my mind as soon as the trade happened.”

Longoria expects to benefit from another aspect of AT&T Park, too. The Rays finished dead last in the majors last year with an average of 15,670 fans per game. Even though their sellout streak ended, the Giants still had an average of more than 40,000 per night. Asked about playing outdoors, Longoria smiled and added, “in front of fans.”

“The environment here is obviously much different, so it’s going to be nice to step into that on a daily basis and play in front of a fan base that’s obviously very storied,” he said. “It helps with energy. It helps with motivation.”

McCutchen ready for more conversations with 'Steve the Seagull' at AT&T Park

McCutchen ready for more conversations with 'Steve the Seagull' at AT&T Park

Andrew McCutchen has been one of the best players in the National League for years now. The 31-year-old is a five-time All-Star and was named the 2013 NL MVP. 

Not only do his stats stand out, McCutchen is also one of the most entertaining players in baseball. And that's clearly going to continue in San Francisco. 

On Thursday, McCutchen was asked about the famous seagulls of San Francisco flying around the outfield at AT&T Park. 

"I definitely made a few friends out there over the years. Steve the Seagull out there, I know him," McCutchen said on KNBR. "He comes in every now and then. We have a little pow-wow when I come to San Francisco. Yeah, we get along well, me and the guys, me and the birds. They know when to come in that's for sure." 

Denard Span, who the Giants traded to acquire Evan Longoria, had a much different relationship with the seagulls. 

McCutchen is clearly the opposite of Span in this regard though. He seems about as calm as can be when it comes to the birds paying him a visit. 

"They chill, we have some conversations. It's all good," says McCutchen. 

One other aspect McCutchen can't wait for in the outfield at AT&T Park, is getting to know all the fans. Specifically, not being a part of a special chant Giants fans have for opposing outfielders. 

"I'm lookin' forward to fans not callin' me bums anymore," McCutchen said with a laugh. "I'm glad I'm on the winning side. I'm glad I'm on the San Francisco Giants side. I can't wait to meet all the fans."