Pavlovic: SF Giants would welcome back third baseman Evan Longoria for 2023

San Francisco Giants v Chicago Cubs
San Francisco Giants v Chicago Cubs / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

One of the first questions the SF Giants will have to answer this offseason is whether to bring back longtime third baseman Evan Longoria. Longoria was asked about next season during Sunday night's game against the Chicago Cubs and he reiterated his desire to fulfill his contract. Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area added that the Giants sound like they would welcome back the veteran third baseman.

Pavlovic: SF Giants would welcome back third baseman Evan Longoria for 2023

San Francisco holds a $13 million team option on Longoria for 2023. This includes a $5 million buy out. One way or another, the Giants are going to commit at least $5 million to the 36-year-old in 2023. The question the front office will need to answer is whether it makes sense to retain Longoria next season for the additional $8 million.

David Villar's emergence might complicate the decision for the Giants but San Francisco appears interested in keeping Longoria into his age-37 season.

When he is healthy, the 15-year veteran has proven to be a solid contributor. Durability has been an issue in recent seasons whether it be a freak injury such as colliding with shortstop Brandon Crawford or a nagging injury like the hamstring issue he has battled this season.

Earlier in his career, Longoria was a stalwart with the Tampa Bay Rays as he appeared in at least 150 games in seven of nine seasons beginning in 2009. That quality has not transitioned since joining the Giants. Longoria has crossed the 100-game threshold only twice in five seasons with the Giants and he will fall well below that mark this year.

With that being said, the right-handed bat has slashed .244/.320/.458 (117 wRC+) with 12 home runs, 32 RBI, and 29 runs in 253 plate appearances. This includes a 9.5 percent walk rate against a 26.9 percent strikeout rate.

Longoria still flashes a potent bat, and that is especially true against lefties where he has tallied a 133 wRC+ in 109 plate appearances against them this season. For an organization that aggressively plays the platoon matchups, he still provides value in that role.

Plus, Longoria continues to produce with the glove as well. He has been worth -2 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) and +1 Outs Above Average (OAA) at third base in 2022. Both marks are passable and passable is a benchmark that the Giants need more of on defense.

If the Giants want to retain Longoria, then it is an easy call as his team option should not limit them in any way in terms of how they approach free agency. Keeping him will give them some stability at the hot corner, but San Francisco will need to be realistic in the type of workload that the veteran third baseman will be able to handle next season.