Thoughts on Evan Longoria to the San Francisco Giants
After missing out on Giancarlo Stanton, Shohei Ohtani, and Marcell Ozuna, it looked like Giants fans were in for a long offseason. The Winter Meetings came and went, with nothing substantial happening for the team, and just as it seemed that all hope was lost, the Giants called the Texas Rangers and got rid of Matt Moore, and then traded Denard Span and Christian Arroyo for Evan Longoria.
Now, getting rid of Moore and Span was definitely smart. I saw these moves as Bobby Evans basically admitting that neither of those deals really panned out like he expected them to. Moore pitched well down the stretch in 2016 and in the postseason, but was absolutely terrible in 2017. Rumor also has it that he wanted to take Tim Lincecum’s number 55, and within a week of that rumor surfacing, he was gone. I’m not saying that the jersey is the reason he is gone, because he refuted his reported desire for the number on twitter, but the timing is nothing short of intriguing. Moving Span was also a very logical move, he was old, and owed a lot of money for one more year. He was not good for the Giants last year, especially defensively, and was a big part of why they had the worst outfield defense in the league last year. He has a DFS (defensive runs saved) of -27, which means that he cost the Giants 27 runs with his defense last year.
Bringing in Evan Longoria is a short-term fix to a long-term problem. He has been the healthiest third baseman in the MLB for the last decade or so, and has hit at least 20 home runs in nine of his ten big league seasons. He is also a three-time all-star and a three-time Gold Glove winner, which all leads to him being a productive third baseman that should fit right in with the rest of the Giants infield.
Third base has been a weak spot for the Giants ever since Pablo Sandoval left in the offseason after the 2014 World Series, and now they have a guy capable of playing 150 games with solid defense and the potential to hit 20+ home runs. The only problem with Longoria is that he is coming off his worst offensive season since 2012, and will be 36 by the time he has a chance to get out of his current contract. While there may be issues down the road, the Giants front office clearly believes that they have the chance to turn things around and contend this year, and I admire that. This move feels like just the beginning to an exciting couple of weeks.
With a solution at third base that included shedding salary in Denard Span, the Giants now have the ability to potentially add two major pieces to the outfield. Jay Bruce has been on the Giants radar ever since he was born. The Giants are also his reported to be his preferred location. He is a big-time power hitting right fielder, and has a .293 batting average at AT&T park which includes seven home runs in 31 games. His power can play well at AT&T park, and he has the potential to pepper McCovey Cove with balls and provide the big bat the Giants have been looking for ever since Barry Bonds retired. Now, the real question mark lies in center field.
Defense is the primary concern for the Giants with a center fielder, and if they manage to add Jay Bruce, then they can afford to sacrifice power numbers for speed and defense. The two names that are the most interesting to me right now are Jackie Bradley Jr. and Andrew McCutchen. Andrew McCutchen is a former MVP and only has one year left on his contract, and is a better offensive player than Bradley Jr. is. The other plus for McCutchen is that because he only has one more year left on his contract, then he can act as a bridge for Steven Duggar, who tore up the Arizona Fall League this past fall. If Duggar proves that he is ready to make the jump to the MLB, then he would have a great mentor in McCutchen, who knows how to hit and defend with the best of the best. Now, in terms of JBJ, the Red Sox are reportedly all-in on J.D. Martinez, which means that one of their current outfielders would become expendable, and it is only logical that it would be JBJ, who is the oldest of their current trio. Either way, I am excited to see who the Giants bring in to patrol center field.
While the move to bring in Evan Longoria is not as flashy as Giancarlo Stanton, Shohei Ohtani, or Marcell Ozuna, it is still significant. The move shows that the front office still has a commitment to winning, and winning as soon as possible. I am excited to see what else they are able to pull off in the coming weeks.
Also, Tim Lincecum was spotted training in the same facility as Adam Ottavino and Trevor Bauer, and is looking to attempt an MLB comeback that starts with a showcase of him showing what he can still do. The facility he is at is focused on increasing velocity and explosiveness, and if Timmy has a showcase and throw at least 92 MPH the Giants better sign him and make him the fifth starter because WE DESERVE IT, DAMMIT!