Tampa Bay Rays

Wotus' take on trade for Longoria: 'When you're trying to win the division...'

Wotus' take on trade for Longoria: 'When you're trying to win the division...'

While the Giants are still looking for outfield help as spring training creeps up on us, they checked one off their to-do list with the acquisition of third baseman Evan Longoria in late December. 

"Getting Longo at third base is a huge hole for us that we needed to fill," Giants third base coach Ron Wotus said to Friday on MLB Network Radio

In trading for Longoria, the Giants had to give up one of their top prospects. Christian Arroyo, who made his MLB debut at just 21 years old this past season, hit .396 in 25 Triple-A games for the Sacramento River Cats. He struggled at the big league level, batting .192 in 34 games. 

"We had Arroyo, the kid, but when you're trying to win the division and compete with the Dodgers and now Arizona's much better, Colorado's much better, we got a sure All-Star caliber player there," Wotus said on the trade.

The Dodgers won the National League West in 2017 and the D'backs and Rockies squared off in the wild card game. Over in Tampa Bay, the Rays missed the playoffs while Longoria posted his worst offensive season in years. 

Longoria, 32, hit .261, his lowest batting average since 2014, with 20 home runs, his lowest since 2012. Still, 20 home runs would have led the Giants in 2017 and they believe he's a much needed power boost to the lineup. 

"We filled one of our needs. I think his leadership and experience in being able to hit in the middle of the order -- he's done that his whole life -- is really gonna benefit for us," Wotus said. 

As Wotus showed excitement in the Longoria addition, he recognized the team needs to keep adding to their roster after a 98-loss season. 

"It's a great addition... but we still have more work to do," Wotus said to finish his interview. 

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.

Sincerely,
Evan Longoria."

What Mike Krukow likes most about Giants' trade for Evan Longoria

What Mike Krukow likes most about Giants' trade for Evan Longoria

Giants color commentator Mike Krukow started his interview Thursday morning on the Murph & Mac Show full of enthusiasm. 

"I'm doing a lot better today than I was yesterday because of the trade," Krukow said. "I'm pretty excited about it." 

The trade Krukow brought up was of course the Giants' acquisition of third baseman Evan Longoria from the Rays. San Francisco sent Denard Span to Tampa Bay, along with prospects Christian Arroyo, Matt Krook and Stephen Woods

Krukow then went into detail about what he likes most about the Giants trading for Longoria. Right off the bat, Krukow is happy with the Giants for bringing a powerful stick to the lineup that badly needs one. 

"He's a player with reputation, which simply means when you put him in the middle of your lineup, he's a guy that you start thinking about if you're the opposing pitcher against the Giants," Krukow said. "He's a guy that you can make a mistake with and he can make you pay for it." 

Longoria's 20 home runs in 2017 would have led the Giants. But that was his lowest total since 2012 when he only played 74 games. 

"He's also a great glove," Krukow said. "... That's one of the things and priorities I think they wanted to address this year and they certainly did." 

Even at 32 years old, Longoria is considered one of the best defensive third basemen in the game. He won his third Gold Glove award this past season and his dWAR (1.3) was his highest since 2013 (1.6). 

"Plus he's a leader," Krukow continued. "He's gonna fit right into the clubhouse of guys that he respects." 

Despite being a premier player, the postseason has not been kind to Longoria. In 30 games, Longoria has only hit .191. He has, however, added nine home runs. 

"For a guy who's had a gifted career like he has, that gnaws at him. He burns to get back to the playoffs. He burns to atone for the .191 lifetime average in the postseason. And I think it's an opportunity he feels he's gonna get with this Giants club."