Longoria thanks SF as veteran enters free agency for 1st time

November 16th, 2022

This story was excerpted from Maria Guardado’s Giants Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

One day after the Giants declined Evan Longoria’s $13 million club option for 2023, the veteran third baseman seemingly bid farewell to San Francisco with a heartfelt post on Instagram.

“Thank you San Francisco for an incredible 5 years!” Longoria wrote Friday. “The relationships I’ve made with this storied franchise will last a lifetime. There are so many people to thank and I hope all of them know when I type this I’m forever grateful for your dedication to me and to this team. My family and I always appreciated the love and support this fanbase showed every day and night. We will miss you!”

Longoria, who received a $5 million buyout from the Giants, is now a free agent for the first time in his 15-year career, though he has said he wants to keep playing for at least one more season. President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi hasn’t ruled out the possibility of re-signing Longoria, but the Giants also have a stated goal of getting younger after watching many of their veterans struggle to stay healthy in 2022.

The 37-year-old Longoria remained the Giants’ best defensive option at third, but they have several other right-handed hitters who are capable of playing the position, including Wilmer Flores, David Villar and J.D. Davis. Casey Schmitt, who is ranked the club’s No. 6 prospect by MLB Pipeline, is also a defensive whiz at third and appears close to breaking into the Majors after reaching Triple-A Sacramento this year.

“It’s really not anything to do with Longo, who played great for us on the field and was great in the clubhouse,” Zaidi said Tuesday. “We’re not closing the door on that. It’s just with our current roster construction, it was a little bit difficult to fit all those guys and make sure everybody got at-bats. We’ll stay in touch. If things change on our roster, it could still potentially be a fit for us. But we know he’s got other options that he’s exploring right now as well.”

Longoria was refreshingly candid when discussing his possible foray into free agency at the end of the regular season, noting that the Rays and D-backs would be among his preferred landing spots if he couldn’t work out a reunion with the Giants.

Longoria, of course, starred for the Rays for the first decade of his career before being dealt to San Francisco in exchange for Denard Span, Christian Arroyo, Matt Krook and Stephen Woods in December 2017. He still has a home in Tampa Bay, though he currently lives in Arizona with his family. That could make him a natural target for the D-backs, who could use a veteran right-handed bat to balance out their lefty-heavy lineup.