The Tampa Bay Rays have traded one of the faces of their franchise, third baseman Evan Longoria.
The 32-year-old has been sent to the San Francisco Giants.
- Longoria hit 261 homers during career with Rays
- Helped team reach 2008 World Series
- He will make $13.5 million next season; Rays cutting payroll
The Rays are receiving Christian Arroyo, Denard Span, Matt Krook and Stephen Woods in return.
Drafted third overall in the 2006 Major League Baseball draft, Longoria has spent his entire 10-year career with the Rays, helping them reach the World Series in 2008, his rookie season.
"It's obviously a tough day for myself and my family," Longoria said Wednesday afternoon while speaking to the media on a conference call. "Since I've been here, I've basically become an adult. My hope is nothing but the best for the Rays organization and the Rays fanbase."
Every day I was a Ray was special. From the bottom of our hearts, my family and I say THANK YOU!… https://t.co/3dgkIEJAMd— Evan Longoria (@Evan3Longoria) December 21, 2017
The face of the team and a cornerstone of its playoff teams, Longoria said he was appreciative of the Rays and understood why the trade was happening now, after years of whispers about trades.
"I don't blame them," Longoria said. "I think they felt this was the best time for them to build for the ground up."
Longoria said he expressed to the organization he did not want to go through an extended rebuild. He added he didn't think he could go through another few years of 100-plus losses. He gave the organization credit for being open with him and finding a trade partner that gave him a chance at the playoffs and a chanmpionship.
A right-hander, Longoria hit 261 home runs in a Rays uniform, including 20 last year. He was stellar at third base for a franchise that has for years pushed good defense and good pitching as its formula.
Longoria made three American League All-Star teams and won his third gold glove last season. He also hit perhaps the most famous homer in franchise history.
"Evan is our greatest Ray. For a decade, he’s been at the center of all of our successes, and it's a very emotional parting for us all," said Principal Owner Stuart Sternberg. "I speak for our entire organization in wishing Evan and his wonderful family our absolute best."
On September 28, 2011, the final game of the regular season, Longoria's 12th-inning home run against the New York Yankees clinched the AL Wild Card.
The Rays have made it clear they intend to cut the team payroll next season. Longoria will make $13.5 million next season.
The team went 80-82 in 2017, fading down the stretch and missing the postseason for the fourth straight year.
As for the players the Rays are getting: Arroyo, an infielder, made his big league debut last year and played 34 games. Span is a 10-year veteran outfielder who hit 12 homers for the Giants in 2017. He is 33 years old.
Arroyo, 22, was the top-ranked prospect in the Giants organization by MLB.com and ranks as the No. 4 prospect in the system by Baseball America.
In five minor league seasons, Arroyo has hit .300/.345/.434 (447-for-1,491) with 106 doubles, 11 triples, 24 home runs and 208 runs batted in.
Arroyo is from Brooksville (Hernando High School graduate) and Span is from Tampa and graduated from Tampa Catholic.
Woods and Krook spent the season in the minor leagues.
Evan Longoria 10-year career stats in Tampa Bay:
All Star 2008, 2009, 2010
Rookie of the Year 2008
Gold Glove Winner 2009, 2010, 2017
We’ve traded 3B Evan Longoria to San Francisco in exchange for OF Denard Span, INF Christian Arroyo, and minor league pitchers Matt Krook and Stephen Woods Jr. pic.twitter.com/2AGYFwNgIZ— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) December 20, 2017