Evan Longoria thanks Rays, fans with full-page graphic in Tampa paper

Evan Longoria thanks Rays, fans with full-page graphic in Tampa paper

Evan Longoria called the Tampa/St. Pete area home for 10 years. He accomplished a lot during that time.

He won the 2008 AL Rookie of the Year, was named to three All-Star teams, led the Rays to the World Series in 2008, hit a dramatic walk-off home run in 2011 to send Tampa to the playoffs and won a Gold Glove in 2017. He's the franchise's all-time leader in games played, runs, doubles, home runs and RBI.

But on Wednesday, the Rays traded arguably the greatest player in franchise history to the Giants for Christian Arroyo, Denard Span and two minor league pitchers.

On Saturday morning, Rays fans woke up to a 'thank you' note from Longoria  in the Tampa Bay Times:

"It's hard to think of a significant sporting moment in my life that didn't happen in a Tampa Bay Rays uniform - from draft day to my first day in the big leagues. All of my firsts - some mistakes that I hope will be my last, and every special moment in between - I shared with great teammates, coaches and an organization that was my home for 11 years.

I am proud to have been part of four playoff teams and that special 2008 team that fell just short in the World Series. These experiences shaped a winning attitude that has always been important to me. My one regret is not being able to bring a championship to the Tampa/St. Pete community, which has embraced my family and me as my own.

It is with a full heart that I write this to say thank you. Thank you to my family, my wife Jaime and our two kids, Elle and Nash, who have only know the Rays white and blue, for making Tampa/St. Pete a home for us all. Thank you to my teammates and coaches for their support; they have always brought out the best in me. A special thanks to the staff members who made playing for the Rays easy by taking care of all the off-the-field needs. And thank you to the media for always being respectful professionals.

I would also like to express my gratitude to the front office for allowing me to be myself throughout the years, and helping my family and I throughout this process. Finally, and most importantly, thank you to the fans. There isn't a memory in my head that isn't made more vivd by the sounds of the cheers and cowbells. You make the memories alive. I will remember all of you forever.

Evan Longoria."

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."