? BLUE JAYS KILLER HAS BEEN TRADED TO THE NL ? https://t.co/0K6ewwGwtD
— Blue Jays Nation (@thejaysnation) December 20, 2017
Sometimes, baseball is bad. The New York Yankees, who are already loaded with young talent, go ahead and acquire the reigning National League MVP and give themselves a murderers’ row of Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, and Gary Sanchez.
But other times, baseball is good. The Tampa Bay Rays, who are sort of good and are in that lump of teams possibly competing with the Blue Jays for the second wild card, go ahead and trade their franchise third baseman to the San Francisco Giants.
With the Rays trading Evan Longoria to the Giants today, both Florida teams have traded the greatest player in franchise history this month.
— Tyler Kepner (@TylerKepner) December 20, 2017
Longoria was the third overall pick of the Rays back in 2006. He played a key role in turning the hapless franchise around, as the Rays, who dropped the Devil from their name in 2008, won the American League East in his rookie season and made it all the way to the World Series in their first-ever playoff appearance.
All told, Longoria played 10 seasons with the Rays, slashing a .270/.341/.483 line with 261 homers. He won three gold gloves, made three all-star appearances, and is the franchise’s all-time WAR leader by a country mile.
In his rookie season, the Rays made a major commitment to Longoria, giving him a six-year deal with three more option years. In 2012, they tacked on six more years to that deal, ultimately locking him up until 2023 at a salary figure well below market value. Going into 2018, the Rays owed him $13.5 million, then $14.5 million for 2019, $15 million for 2020, $18.5 million for 2021, $19.5 million for 2022, and either a $5 million buyout option or a $13 million salary in 2023, which could increase depending on is 2022 play.
In return, the Rays acquired local Tampa Bay native INF Christian Arroyo, veteran OF Denard Span, Single-A RHP Stephen Woods, and Single-A LHP Matt Krook. It isn’t exactly an inspiring return for a franchise icon, as neither Woods or Krook are top prospects and Arroyo doesn’t have high-level upside, but legacy aside, Longoria simply isn’t an elite player anymore and the Rays managed to shed a lot of salary.
In 2017, Longoria was worth only 2.5 wins above replacement according to FanGraphs and his 96 wRC+ was the lowest of his career. Aaaaaand it was lower than what Span produced in San Fransisco last season. Longoria had an excellent season in 2016, posting a 123 wRC+ and 4.5 wins, but at 32 years of age, I would assume his 2017 results aren’t an anomaly.
Regardless, I’m happy to see Longoria not playing for the Rays anymore. He was one of those typical Jays killers that made watching games against the frustrating, shitty, ugly Rays so terrible. For his career, Longoria had an .843 OPS against the Blue Jays with 24 homers.
The shittier the Orioles and Rays are, the better! Next, the Trash Birds have to send Manny Machado to the National League.