Evan Longoria

Remember when Evan Longoria signed his second long-term contract and it was assumed he would finish his career with the Rays? Not so fast.

In what is just speculation at this point, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe weighs in on Longoria, his contract, and his future, suggesting the Angels could be a team that will attempt to trade for the third baseman this winter:

The 30-year-old Longoria’s contract runs another seven years. His production has been so-so. While he’s the face of the franchise, their status makes that meaningless. Over the last couple of years, baseball people have wondered whether the Rays would ever entertain dealing Longoria for a few pieces. With third basemen in demand, there would be a lot of play. Longoria would be a perfect Angel, for instance. “The contract he signed is long but reasonable,” said one AL GM.

Yes, it is just speculation, and yes, there is nothing here to suggest the Rays want to or would trade their “face.” But once you get past the sentimentality of keeping Longoria forever and ever and ever, trading him now makes sense and the only surprising thing would be if the Rays don’t at least discuss the possibility with other teams once the off-season begins.

Consider the following:

  • Longoria is 30, and numbers have shown that most players typically start their decline at about age 30. That doesn’t a player is going to be bad right away and there can still be good seasons left. But from a production stand point, his average season over the next 5-7 years will likely be less than the last 5-7 years.
  • While his production has fallen, he is still a proven commodity with a good glove that would fit in nicely as the 3rd or 4th best player on a very good team. And he plays a position where it is hard to find that kind of production.
  • While other teams have trouble finding productive third basemen, the Rays have a potential replacement already, in Richie Shaffer. And let’s face it, until his call-up, the Rays were in no hurry for Shaffer to learn a new position in the minors.

The Rays can certainly afford to keep Longoria, and maybe they will. Even with his declining production, $11.5 million, his 2016 salary, for a player like Longo is still reasonable, as the anonymous GM said above.

But the Rays are not big on paying a player $11.5 million when they can pay somebody else $0.5 million, and the drop-off in production can be made up by spending some of that money elsewhere. In the eyes of the Rays, they take a step back at third base, but come out ahead both financially and overall as a team.

There is the concern of trading away the fans’ favorite player. But considering where attendance was last year, your love for Longo is not going to be the deciding factor on whether or not Longoria is still with the Rays in 2016.

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11 Comments

  1. Gus says:

    For a prospect as iffy as Schaffer, the last thing they should ever do is trade Longo and give Schaffer the 3b job. That would break the kid quicker than anything.

    At some point, you have to spend SOME money. Longoria has earned his contract and deserves to finish his career here. But the NE media has been trying to trade him out of here for a long time. So these stories will percolate. But unless he asks out, he should finish here.

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  2. Rome says:

    The idea makes me sick.

    The Boston globe ran similar stories about Carl Crawford.

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    • Gus says:

      But Crawford was a pending free agent. Longo is signed until 37 years old or so.

      You have to think Longo is watching Tulo (his old college teammate) and Price in the playoffs this year and is wondering what if. Although to be fair to the Rays, they have better pitching than either of the AL teams left and not hard to see them being there next season if they can get the bullpen sorted out.

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  3. Consider the source of this piece. Red sox fans need some hope of climbing out of the cellar. How about suggesting that we trade Longo? I don't think so.

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  4. Matt says:

    Also, remember that after 10 years service time and 5 with the same team, the player can enact a no trade clause. For Longo that will happen in 2 years, after the 2017 season, making him that much harder to trade.

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  5. Lurkey says:

    Since he stopped taking product(s) to enhance his ability, he hasn't been the same.

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  6. Dave L says:

    Welcome to the hot stove season where every sportswriters navel gazing whimsical what if can quickly become a possible reality!

    As Rome notes funny how it always involves dismantling the Rays especially since they became relevant to MLB and it always originates in the Boston/NY axis of snobbery.

    First of all a 'bad' 2015 Longo is only bad when compared the 6+ WAR Longo headed to the HOF early in his career.

    On a severely offensively challenged team. Lets look at his offense?

    He is second on the team in offensive WAR and WRC+ to Logan, lead the team in WPA+ win probability added plus, RBI and in Games and plate appearances.

    The past two seasons he has been extremely durable and gets platooned against NOBODY. There isn't one other player on this team you can say about over the past two seasons.

    So he is the one counted on to do thee heavy lifting on this anemic team. He is still top ten in most offensive categories in MLB among 3B.

    Trade him and you are essentially replacing him with two men on the roster because we then have another platoon roster spot. On his days off he DH's. He strikes out alot? Look at the under 25 phenoms around MLB they are human windmills by comparison.

    As Gus said Shaffer? He is totally unproven. Fans need to fully appreciate what a everyday player truly means to a team and constructing a roster.

    Anybody is tradeable and Longo is no longer future HOF Longo. But when the TV money starts rolling in his salary will look better and better. So even if in 3 years we have a league average Evan , at least will have a league average something position player! By then he can platoon DH and Shaffer can ease into 3rd if he's the next step. Maybe if he plays less 3rd his bat will if not get better at least stay good and not decline further.

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    • Skateman says:

      Everybody and everything is for sale. It all depends on the return.

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      • Dave L says:

        Yes thats why I added the final caveat that "anybody is tradeable"

        I agree.

        Just trying to quantify what we would have to replace and his true value to the Rays in particular

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  7. Brent says:

    Whoa! Not Longo! Though I guess if the "Price" was right, you would have to take it... Right? Dam, that sounds bad, like considering selling your dog you had for over 8 years...

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  8. Rob says:

    The Rays have to deal from an area of strength, which is not the offense, and they can't afford to replace short and third in the same season. Can you imagine if this team is .500 or better at the trade deadline next year after trading Longo (not implausible with their pitching) and everyone is (again) clamoring for them to trade for a bat at the end of June? Fans and the organization will be second guessing trading their only reliable power source.

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