Giants acquire Evan Longoria from Rays

Giants acquire Evan Longoria from Rays

SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants traded their last everyday third baseman to Tampa Bay. Still looking to fill that Matt Duffy-sized hole, the team swung another deal with the Rays on Wednesday morning.

The Giants acquired All-Star third baseman Evan Longoria in exchange for Denard Span, Christian Arroyo and pitching prospects Matt Krook and Stephen Woods.

Longoria has been one of the more reliable third baseman in baseball for years, and he fills a couple of gaping holes, giving the a Gold Glove defender at the corner and a right-handed power bat to slide into the heart of a lineup that has too often leaned to the left in recent years. Longoria hit 20 homers last season and has done so every year since 2013. He has four 30-homer seasons since breaking into the big leagues in 2008, including 36 in 2016. 

There are flaws, though. Longoria turned 32 in October and is guaranteed $86 million through 2022. Some of that will be offset by dealing Span and cash the Giants are getting back from the Rays, but while the Giants filled a hole on Wednesday, they certainly didn’t get any younger or solve their future payroll issues. 

They also traded their best infield prospect in Arroyo, a 22-year-old Tampa native who gets to go home and try to recover from a rough debut season. Arroyo hit .192 after a hot start and had his year ended when he was hit by a pitch upon returning to Triple-A. The Giants long viewed him as next in line to the Crawford, Panik, Duffy generation, but they apparently didn’t feel they could wait for Arroyo to develop with this current core. Longoria fits the timetable perfectly. 

Span also gets to go home, and he’ll spend the final season of his three-year deal with the Rays. The Giants originally tried to unload him in the Giancarlo Stanton deal so that they could stay under the luxury tax line. With Span gone, the Giants have lost their leadoff hitter, but they also have cleared a logjam in the outfield. Hunter Pence seems the likely choice to move to left field next season. 

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."