The SF Giants moved on from veteran third baseman Evan Longoria at the beginning of the offseason after declining his $13 million team option. He received a $5 million buyout instead. He still has a good chance of playing in 2023 as Jon Heyman of the NY Post reports that at least five teams are interested in the 37-year-old.
Rumor: Former SF Giants third baseman has a handful of interested suitors
Heyman adds that Longoria is looking to play for a contender. I would be remiss in mentioning that Heyman has not been the most accurate baseball insider in recent days.
The 15-year veteran spent the last five seasons in San Francisco following a trade from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for three prospects, including Christian Arroyo, and outfielder Denard Span. The Giants hoped that Longoria would be a middle-of-the-order threat while providing solid defense at the hot corner.
In some sense, he offered that but not necessarily on a regular basis. Longoria spent a lot of time on the injured list and he failed to reach 100 in each of the last two seasons. In fairness, some of those injuries were freakish in nature like sustaining a shoulder injury after colliding with Brandon Crawford in 2021.
Longoria proved to have plenty left in the tank in 2022 as he slashed .244/.315/.451 (114 OPS+) with 14 home runs, 42 RBI, and 31 runs in 298 plate appearances. This included a 9.1 percent walk rate against a 27.9 percent strikeout rate.
He was worth -4 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) and 0 Outs Above Average (OAA) in 2022. While he no longer flashes the premium glove he once did earlier in his career, the veteran is still capable defensively at the hot corner.
Near the end of the season, the right-handed bat listed the Giants, Rays, and the Arizona Diamondbacks as his preferred destinations for next season. Longoria has a home in Arizona, which is where the Diamondbacks play their spring training games.
However, the Giants are not likely interested in a reunion as they have other needs to address. David Villar had an impressive finish to the season and might be the potential Opening Day starting third baseman if the rosters were finalized today.
Longoria has put together a strong career and is regarded as one of the best Rays in Tampa Bay's brief history. He can still help a club win and it is good to see that he has a diverse market.