The hottest name on the lips of San Francisco Giants fans right now isn’t Bryce Harper or Manny Machado. Heck, it’s not even Madison Bumgarner. But it most certainly is Evan Longoria.
Per Jon Heyman, the San Francisco Giants are “gauging trade interest” on Evan Longoria. This time last year they had just traded for him and everyone thought the Giants would compete again, especially in the year of 2012.
The prospect of moving Longoria is interesting as it most certainly would open up the door for other free agent options this year and in the future. His contract is very large, and hinders the rebuilding process the Giants are seeming to undertake. But what is his trade value? Is it better than his value on the Giants roster? Those are likely the questions that Farhan Zaidi is trying to find answers to, so we’ll save him some time.
The pros to trading away Evan Longoria are obvious. $70 million plus come off the books if you can find someone to take his contract. That could be put towards a Bryce Harper pursuit (yes please), or towards filling that hole in 2020 with one Nolan Arenado (also yes please). Or both (also very much yes please).
Longoria in 2018 hit .244 with a slugging percentage of .413. 16 homers and only 125 games played. If he was healthy would he have hit 20? Probably. But he wasn’t going to turn the tide for the Giants. Most knew heading into 2014 that Longoria wasn’t going to be his usual “4 win” self. He really hadn’t been for some time. But even the Giants would’ve taken “2 win” Longoria. They got 0.4 win Longo.
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So what is his trade value? Well, the Giants would either have to package a serious big leaguer with him (one of the Watson/Smith combo) and a decent prospect for any team to take on that entire contract. But, some teams might be gullible enough to take less. After all, his defense is solid (+7 dRS in 2018) and he still has some pop. The Angels are a team that seems like the best fit. He was an Angles fan growing up, and they need a third baseman. But if they decided to pull the trigger, what would the Giants do with third base?
There aren’t very many third-base options left in the free agent market, despite virtually nobody signing from the free agent market yet. Donaldson is already signed, so that leaves Mike Moustakas (heck yes), and Yangervis Solarte for those who can competently fill the third base role. That’s not bad, but also not great. So let’s examine who is in the farm: *crickets*. OK. Moving on.
So what’s the conclusion here? Well, Evan Longoria will probably be a big help to this team if they aren’t going to add anything serious in the free agent market if they trade him. He’s the perfect third baseman who *might* pop 20 homers but never plays enough games to actually hit 20 homers that the San Francisco Giants just seem to horde. If they want to fill in his absence with Mike Moustakas on like a two or three year deal, then hurry up and get the deal done at this point. Even more so if they’re just trying to free up long term commitment money so they can really pursue Bryce Harper.
However, I doubt either of those two are actually the case, so it’s probably smarter for the Giants to let the season play out with Longoria, hope his value increases, and trade him at the deadline to the Angels who most certainly will still need a competent third baseman at that point. If all roads lead to Harper or Arenado within the next two free agency windows, I’m game for whatever road they would like to take.