Earlier today it was announced that the San Francisco Giants acquired Evan Longoria from the Tampa Bay Rays.
How is a 32 year old (next year) whose batting line in 2017 was .261/.313/.424, and who is owed $86 million through 2022 an answer to a team that is already packed with large commitments owed to players in their 30’s? Let’s take a look at some of those commitments actually:
SP Johnny Cueto – $84 million through 2021 with a $22 million club option for 2022 or $5 million buyout. 1.7 rWAR in 2017, 5.6 rWAR in 2016. Cueto is 31 years old.
C Buster Posey – $85.6 million through 2021 with a $22 million Club option for 2022 or a $3 million buyout. Posey is 30 years old. 4.0 rWAR in 2017, 4.6 rWAR in 2016.
SP Jeff Samardzija – $60 million through 2020. 2.4 rWAR in 2017, 2.8 rWAR in 2016. Samardzija is 32 years old.
CP Mark Melancon – $38 million through 2020. 0.1 rWAR in 2017, 1.2 rWAR in 2016. Melancon is 32 years old.
1B Brandon Belt – $64 million through 2021. Belt is 29 years old. 3.0 rWAR in 2017, 4.3 rWAR in 2016. Belt is the youngest of the players that I mentioned m, but he is dealing with serious concussion issues that could significantly derail his career.
The common thread with all of them is that they declined in rWAR from 2016 to 2017. Can they be reasonably expected to improve while aging another year? We can assume that maybe Cueto can bounce back, considering he was injured for a large part of 2017, but will he match or exceed his 2016 rWAR of 5.6? I doubt that. How did Longoria do from 2016 to 2017 according to rWAR? He declined from 3.9 to 3.6.
How is it smart to further deplete an already barren farm system to get him? San Francisco have been widely panned for having one of the worst farm systems in the game, and they traded one of their top prospects to get him (3B Christian Arroyo). Couldn’t they instead have signed Todd Frazier or Mike Moustakas? I doubt that either turned down an offer from San Francisco considering how quiet their markets have been. Would Frazier turn down 2/28? Would Moustakas reject 4/64? Could giving Arroyo a chance make sense?
This was a great trade for Tampa Bay but a horrible one for San Francisco. Unfortunately, the San Francisco Giants are still living in 2011 when they actually were a year away from another championship.
Photo courtesy of MLB.com.