The SF Giants will see a familiar face when they face off against the Arizona Diamondbacks next season. Of course, there is some familiarity in Arizona as is with Madison Bumgarner, but veteran third baseman Evan Longoria will be joining him according to Jon Heyman of the New York Post.
Former SF Giants third baseman remains in NL West on 1-year deal
Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic adds that Longoria is slated to earn $4 million in guaranteed salary along with $1 million in incentives. The 37-year-old infielder became a free agent for the first time in his career after the Giants declined his $13 million team option, ending his five-year run in San Francisco.
Longoria did receive a $5 million buy out, so he will be on the books for 2023 even if he is not on the roster.
The Giants traded for the longtime third baseman after the 2017 season in a move that sent Matt Krook, Stephen Woods, Christian Arroyo, and Denard Span to the Tampa Bay Rays. San Francisco struggled to the tune of a 64-98 record in 2017 but they treated it as if it was a gap year after a championship run that resulted in three titles in five seasons.
Longoria was brought in as one of the key players to restart the competitive window, but it never fully came to fruition. The right-handed bat put together several sold seasons in a Giants uniform, but he struggled to stay healthy, especially over the past two seasons.
Longoria proved to still be a productive hitter in 2022 as he slashed .244/.315/.451 (114 OPS+) with 14 home runs, 42 RBI, and 31 runs in 298 plate appearances. He only appeared in 89 games as he made several stints to the injured list due to a nagging hamstring injury.
Longoria mentored fellow third baseman David Villar at the end of the season, advising him to be more aggressive at the plate. This paid immediate dividends as Villar blasted eight home runs with an .897 OPS in the final month of the season. However, Villar's emergence likely made the decision easier for the Giants to decline Longoria's option for 2023.
The Diamondbacks have a very young team, but an exciting roster with several of the game's top prospects including catcher Gabriel Moreno and outfielder Corbin Carroll. They went 74-88 last year, but appear to be on an upward trajectory.
Adding a veteran voice like Longoria can really make a difference that extends beyond the stat sheet. Arizona was one of the few teams that Longoria listed as one of his preferred destinations, so it is encouraging to see that he landed in a good place.