When the San Francisco Giants acquired third baseman Evan Longoria from the Tampa Bay Rays, it was considered a curious move. Why would a team that appears to be in need of a rebuild after losing 98 games in 2017 trade away several assets for one guy? It doesn’t seem logical, but it is a move the Giants made in December, when they traded four players to the Rays for veteran third baseman Evan Longoria.
It was an interesting move and one that has had its fair share of critics. But was it a bad move or is it actually paying off?
Last season, the Giants third basemen had the dubious distinction of being the worst offensively in the league. Collectively, they hit just .216 on the season, knocked in only nine home runs and just 51 RBIs, and had an OPS of .568.
Clearly, they needed to do something about the play of their third basemen. While Longoria is far from being a superstar, he is a good third baseman, so it isn’t like they picked up a slug. However, the Giants don’t play in a hitter-friendly park, and Longoria’s numbers have been trending down the last few years.
Did they trade away the future for a fading third baseman due $86 million over the next five years?
Had he been on the roster last season, his 20 home runs and 86 RBIs would have led the team. While those numbers were down from his production during the 2016 season, they aren’t bad. That is probably why the Giants were okay with taking on his contract. Even if he is in decline, he’s still better than anything they’ve got!
But is the trade paying off?
Longoria has played in 50 of 52 games for the Giants (as of May 27). He didn’t get his first hit as a Giant until the fifth game of the season. But since then, he has hit .250 with eight home runs and 24 RBIs. While he is not the one solely responsible for how the team has fared, they are 25-27 and just two games out of first place in the division.
At this point last season, they were 20-27.
Has trading for him paid off? His production is a significant boost over what the Giants got from third base last season. Using that alone as criteria, the answer is yes. He has added more to the team than the Giants got from their third basemen last season.
Is he worth the price tag? Was it a smart trade? We will not know the answer to those questions until the season ends.