Breaking down Longo's fit with D-backs

January 12th, 2023

This story was excerpted from Steve Gilbert's D-backs Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

Last week, the D-backs signed free-agent third baseman Evan Longoria to a one-year, $4 million deal with the possibility for him to earn another $1 million in bonuses tied to days on the active roster.

Here are some questions and answers about the signing:

How much will Longoria play?
Both Longoria and general manager Mike Hazen acknowledged that Longoria is not going to play every day. For his part, Longoria understands that, at 37, he will be at his best if they figure out a schedule that will get the most productivity out of him.

Look for Longoria to get starts against all left-handers and some right-handers. Josh Rojas, if he continues to improve defensively, will get his share of starts at third base but also could see time at second with Ketel Marte getting some time at designated hitter.

What took so long to get the deal done?
The D-backs had interest in in Longoria as soon as the Giants declined to pick up his contract option after the World Series, but a deal did not come together immediately, Hazen said, because of trade talks.

The D-backs spent the first chunk of the offseason discussing trades involving their young outfielders. In some of those scenarios, they would have gotten a third baseman back, meaning they wouldn't have at-bats for Longoria. Once they dealt outfielder Daulton Varsho for catcher Gabriel Moreno and outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. on Dec. 24, Arizona resumed talks with Longoria.

Longoria said he started to get anxious, but the deal came together right around Christmas and was finalized after the holidays.

Does Longoria embrace his role as a veteran mentor?
He absolutely does. He talked during his introductory session with the media about how much he benefited from veterans Eric Hinske and Cliff Floyd during his first few seasons in the big leagues, and he is looking forward to being a resource for Arizona's younger players.

"Those two guys, you know, just kind of taught me how to be a pro," Longoria said of Hinske and Floyd. "Not only on the field, but like just kind of breaking into the whole lifestyle and how you're supposed to treat people and what you do on the road and all these things. So I've tried to kind of continue to do that for the younger players that I've been around in San Francisco. I think that the veteran presence in a clubhouse is invaluable, and obviously I hope to kind of be that guy for some of these guys who may be looking for that."

How is his fractured right thumb?
Longoria said the thumb that he injured the last weekend of the season is fully healthy and he's been swinging the bat. It will not be an issue going forward.

What does he think about playing at Chase Field?
Longoria has come to the plate 115 times at Chase Field and has seven home runs while slashing .359/.417/.631, so you would expect he would be happy to be playing more often there. His explanation, though, was interesting.

During his time in San Francisco, Longoria said he hit on the field during batting practice for home games only 20 or so times per year due to the cold or wind.

"I don't know how anybody could not like hitting in a dome," Longoria said. "You know, the conditions are perfect every day. Almost every day in Tampa I took batting practice because the conditions were great, and I think that there's some benefits to that. So definitely looking forward to getting back to a little bit more normalcy and routine [since] the conditions will be really good."