The San Francisco Giants have made a move. “Finally!” says the impatient crowd. A move like this is welcome, but they need to do more.
Early this morning, the San Francisco Giants announced they had made a deal for Evan Longoria. In exchange for their best position player prospect at the moment, the Giants landed a three time gold glover, silver slugger, former rookie of the year, and someone who has received MVP votes in six out his 10 seasons played.
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Longoria struggled at the plate, in comparison to past seasons. He was about as good as Denard Span was last season at the plate, except he had more dingers and more RBI. Longoria needs to be more patient as well, considering he had a career low in walks in 2017, contributing to a worse OPS and SLG percentage than Span, despite higher run production numbers.
But Longoria was always going to be better at third than Arroyo. Arroyo profiles way better at second than third, he was just forced there because it was the only real opening for him in the infield. For the Giants, it was a matter of who do you want at second, Arroyo or Panik? The Giants have made their choice clear. Now they need to get back to work.
For as much as having a solid 3B who will play a whole lot (Longoria has missed 12 games since 2013), just simply adding him, even if he returns to MVP form, isn’t good enough.
The Giants need bounce-back years from a lot of guys, and breakout years from others. Not only that, they still need to add 2-3 more pieces. A bullpen piece (especially a lefty), a center-fielder, and a corner bat with power. There are plenty of those available.
The Giants have also said that while they are interested in adding more pieces, they are also trying hard to stay under the Luxury Tax threshold. Cot’s Baseball Contracts, through Baseball Prospectus, has the Giants currently at $181million in terms of the salary calculated for LUX Tax.
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Longoria will cost $17.2 million against the tax due to his salary escalation coming next year. Throw in Span’s contract exiting, the Giants- not including the money sent to the Giants to help cover some of Longoria’s contract cost (which get’s spread out over the years in terms of an AAV against what his salary counts as for Tax Purposes)- are looking at a little less than $9m in terms of room between where they’re at for next year, and the Luxury Tax threshold of $197 million.
If they’re going to make more than one free agent acquisition now, they’ll need to get rid of one of these three: Hunter Pence, Mark Melancon, Jeff Samardzija, or Johnny Cueto. Pence is probably the easiest to send somewhere in a salary dump, but at the same time, the Giants are looking at him possibly not waiving his no trade clause. It’s always tough to convince someone to leave, especially after Pence’s history with the Giants. Hunter Pence is in a contract year though and will be playing to stay in the bigs next year, so he might be worth hanging on to.
The Giants are going to have to decide what they want to do. If they really want to go the extra mile and get back to contention conversations, they’re either going to have to convince Pence to waive his NTC, or they’re going to have to accept that they’ll be over the Tax line for this season.
In the end, it truly doesn’t matter. This move isn’t the all encompassing bandaid they thought they needed last season. They need to do a whole lot more. I think they know that as well. So stay tuned folks. We’re about to be in for a wild ride.