SAN FRANCISCO — When he was traded to the Giants last month, Evan Longoria said he didn’t really know many of the Giants players or coaches. He certainly knew which ones to reach out to, though.
During an appearance on Sirius XM’s MLB Network Radio on Monday, the new third baseman said he sent text messages to Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey shortly after the deal that brought him to San Francisco in exchange for Denard Span, Christian Arroyo and two pitching prospects.
What was the message Longoria sent the two stars?
“Obviously I’m here to win and I’m here to follow your lead,” he said.
Longoria hasn’t played in the postseason since 2013 and he hasn’t been in a World Series since 2008. The Giants expect him to be an integral part of a bounce back season, and Longoria is currently set to hit third, right in front of Posey. The longtime Tampa Bay Ray said he has run into Jeff Samardzija and several Giants pitchers while working out at the team’s facility in Scottsdale.
“Slowly but surely I’ll meet these guys, but like I said, with Posey and Bumgarner those are obviously mainstays and kind of the faces of the team for quite some time,” Longoria said. “So I definitely wanted to make it a point to reach out to them and let them know that I’m here to be on their program and I’m excited to be here.”
The Astros and Giants had seemingly opposite seasons in 2017. While the Astros won their first World Series title in franchise history, the Giants put together a historically bad season with a 64-98 record.
Of all the Astros, José Altuve enjoyed the greatest season of them all. And one Giant can relate to the 5-foot-6 slugger.
Altuve became just the eighth player in Major League Baseball history to win a batting title, MVP and World Series all in the same year. The last to do so was Buster Posey in 2012, the second of his three titles with the Giants.
In 2012, Posey hit .336 to win the batting title. He then received 422 voting points to edge out Ryan Braun (285) to win the National League MVP.
Altuve hit 10 points higher than Posey at .346 to win the 2017 batting title. But, Altuve received less voting points (405) than Posey to beat rookie Aaron Judge (279).
SAN FRANCISCO — It was revealed Thursday night that Giancarlo Stanton is this year’s National League Most Valuable Player. The rest of the MVP ballot shows why the Giants are chasing Stanton so hard this offseason.
Led by Stanton, 22 different players were listed on NL MVP ballots, which have 10 spots. Two of the top five finishers — Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon — were Rockies. Four different Diamondbacks got votes, led by third-place finisher Paul Goldschmidt. The Dodgers had five players listed on ballots, including rookie Cody Bellinger, who arrived a couple of days after Christian Arroyo and finished ninth in MVP voting.
The Giants? They didn't have a single player receive an MVP vote, continuing a theme during awards season.
The team built around pitching did not have any players listed on the five-person Cy Young Award ballots (full disclosure: I had a vote). There were no Rookie of the Year candidates, either, and Bruce Bochy was out of the Manager of the Year running sometime in early May. The 2017 season was the first since 2007 in which the Giants didn’t have a single player listed for any of the four major awards voted on by the Baseball Writers Association of America.
The lack of award-season love is a reminder of how deep the hole is, but it’s also a sign of how much help the Giants need from their stars in order to dig out of this hole. This isn’t as simple as fixing the center field defense and upgrading the bullpen.
Buster Posey had a good season, but his 12 homers, 67 RBI, .861 OPS and 4.3 WAR (ranked 17th in the NL) didn’t get any love at the end of a 98-loss year. Posey had been listed on at least one MVP ballot every season since 2012, when he won the award. This is the first year since 2007 that the Giants did not have a player listed on an MVP ballot.
The organization has had similar success in the Cy Young balloting, with Tim Lincecum winning twice and Madison Bumgarner finishing in the top 10 in each of the previous four seasons. A dirt bike accident cost Bumgarner any shot of getting votes this year, and also likely cost him a third Silver Slugger Award in a season that started with two homers on Opening Day. Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto finished fourth and sixth in the Cy Young voting last season, but Cueto had a similarly forgettable season.