Christian Arroyo

Giants' trades for Andrew McCutchen and Evan Longoria haven't stung

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USATSI

Giants' trades for Andrew McCutchen and Evan Longoria haven't stung

SAN FRANCISCO — Two years ago at this time, the Matt Moore-Matt Duffy trade looked pretty good for the Giants. Moore was sharp down the stretch in 2016, and in his final regular-season start, he allowed one run over eight innings for a big win over the Dodgers. Nine days later, Moore was brilliant in Game 4 of the NLDS, nearly dragging the Giants back to Chicago before the bullpen imploded. 

That trade looks different after a couple more seasons. Duffy missed all of 2017 with injuries but posted a 2.4 WAR season in 2018, which would have led the Giants. Moore was so inconsistent last season that the Giants dumped him on the Rangers -- who had to move him to the bullpen -- and he finished 2018 with a 6.79 ERA. Lucius Fox had a down year in the Rays’ system, but he’s still just 21 and already in Double-A, so there’s promise there. 

The Giants would like this one back, but to be fair, they did get what they wanted out of Moore. He nearly became a postseason hero in orange and black. 

The marquee additions for the next Even Year weren't able to get the Giants to the postseason. Andrew McCutchen was the lineup’s most consistent hitter before he was traded, and after that move, Evan Longoria served as the most dangerous Giant. But both players saw their numbers dip after a move to AT&T Park, and the offense wasn’t any better. 

Will the Giants regret the trades, though? Here’s a look at the players they sent away last winter. 

The McCutchen Trade
Kyle Crick: The former first-rounder had a nice year out of the Pirates’ bullpen, posting a 2.39 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in 64 appearances. Could the Giants use another good cost-controlled righty in their bullpen? Sure. But Reyes Moronta slid into this role and excelled, and you’re never going to lose all that much sleep over trading a reliever who is good but not quite dominant. 

Bryan Reynolds: This is where it gets interesting. The Giants thought they had a steal when they took Reynolds in the second round in 2016, and after an early injury this year, he posted a .302/.381/.438 slash line in Double-A. Reynolds has just 23 homers in over 1,000 minor league at-bats, but he’s only 23, and if the power develops, it’ll be a tough pill for a Giants organization that is somehow incapable of developing starting outfielders. On the other hand, they dealt McCutchen for Abiatal Avelino, who might wind up being better than Reynolds. 

The Longoria Trade: 
Denard Span: His salary was foisted on the Rays, who in turn traded him to Seattle. Span had a .760 OPS and 11 homers in 2018, but the only regret the Giants should have here is not related to this trade. Perhaps they should have put Span in left field all along and just taken the solid at-bats. In center, he was miscast, and the Giants had to replace him. 

Christian Arroyo: Like many of the prospects he came up with, Arroyo hasn't been able to stay healthy. He played 48 minor-league games this season and just 20 in the majors, where he had a .264/.339/.396 slash line. Arroyo is still just 23 and has plenty of time to turn into a good big leaguer, but for now, the Giants can be happy with the Longoria choice over at the hot corner.  

Matt Krook/Stephen Woods: The Giants also sent two pitching prospects to the Rays. Krook, a left-hander, mostly pitched out of the bullpen, with a 4.26 ERA and 95 strikeouts in 74 innings. Woods, a righty, was hurt all year. Like the others in this deal, they haven’t burned the Giants yet. 

Down on the Farm: Checking in on former Giants top prospect Christian Arroyo

Down on the Farm: Checking in on former Giants top prospect Christian Arroyo

The Giants refused to rebuild this past offseason after finishing 2017 with the second-worst record in baseball. Brian Sabean, Bobby Evans and the rest of the front office stared at this team's window of opportunity and stayed in win-now mode, using the classic line of a "reload" over a rebuild. 

Shooting for the San Francisco stars, the team went all in on Giancarlo Stanton, before the now-Yankee turned them down, and traded off top prospects for former stars Andrew McCutchen and Evan Longoria. Through the team's first 69 games, the two have looked exactly as described -- former stars. McCutchen has come on strong lately, hitting two two-run home runs in the last two games. He's batting .356 with four home runs over a 10-game stretch and is up to .267 with eight home runs on the year. The former MVP may be finding his stride as he figures out the NL West. 

Longoria on the other hand, hasn't found much success in his first season with San Francisco. At the time of fracturing his left hand Thursday in Miami, Longoria was slashing .246/.278/.434. The positive is Longoria's 10 home runs rank second on the Giants and he leads the team with 34 RBI, but he simply hasn't been consistent and isn't getting on base enough.

In 2017, Longoria finished with a career-low .313 on-base percentage and he's 35 points lower this year as he has 10 walks to 57 strikeouts. And the three-time Gold Glove third baseman has committed 11 errors in 66 games, three off his career-high for a season. 

The Giants had to part ways with former top prospect Christian Arroyo to acquire Longoria in the offseason. At just 21 years old last year, Arroyo's bat was too good to keep in Triple-A. After 16 games with Sacramento, the team's top hitting prospect was batting .446 and was called up to San Francisco. In 34 games, Arroyo proved to be a pup with the big dogs in the majors. He hit .192 with three home runs and 32 strikeouts in 34 games with the Giants. But with the Rays, Arroyo's second crack at the majors looks much dfferent in Year 2 compared to Year 1. 

Arroyo's season was cut short in 2017 with a fractured wrist. He started the season in Triple-A Durham this year and was quickly put on the shelf again, this time with a calf injury. Overcoming his wrsit injury, Arroyo's start to the season in Triple-A was the complete opposite this year than last. When the Rays called up Arroyo from Durham, he was batting .200 in 17 games with a .235 on-base percentage and .308 slugging percentage, not exactly major-league-ready numbers. And then, Arroyo replaced old friend Matt Duffy in his Rays debut and laced two singles. 

The recently turned 23-year-old has now played in 19 games, 18 starts, with the Rays. Drafted as a shortstop, Arroyo has played eight games at second base, six at third base and was the DH in two. He finds himself in an infield logjam, but Tampa Bay is in a youth movement and will be sellers before the trade deadline. Arroyo started off hot for the Rays and is now slashing .280/.357/.420 with one home run. 

Offensively, Arroyo is showing maturity with six walks, two less than his eight in 34 games with the Giants, and is barreling the ball with hard contact. Arroyo's average exit velocity is up from 87.4 mph with the Giants to 91.8 mph with the Rays. Longoria has a 90.0 average exit velocity this season. While he will never be a huge home run threat, the stocky-built Arroyo finds the barrel consistently and should at least find gap-to-gap power. 

In an attempt to make another run at October in 2018, there's no denying San Francisco's move to add the 32-year-old Longoria, who is signed through 2022 with a team option for 2023. At the same time, Arroyo, 23, is showing the versatility around the infield and growth with his bat that had Giants fan frothing in the past thinking about his future.

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.