The Giants have declined their $13MM club option on Evan Longoria, the third baseman tells Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link). He’ll collect a $5MM buyout and head to free agency.
It’s hardly surprising news, as reports emerged last month the team was leaning towards buying Longoria out, although they could still revisit talks at a lower price point. The hefty buyout figure made this an $8MM call for San Francisco, but they’ve still deemed that too high after he’s appeared in just over half the team’s games over the past couple seasons. Within the past two years, the veteran infielder has had injured list stints for right hamstring, left oblique and left shoulder issues, in addition to surgery on his right hand.
Heading into his age-37 season with that recent injury history, Longoria may be a tough fit for a Giants club that is prioritizing youth and athleticism this winter, according to president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi. That’s particularly true with the team re-signing another right-handed hitting third base option, Wilmer Flores, to a two-year deal late in the year.
To his credit, Longoria has played well when healthy. He has a combined .252/.333/.466 line in 589 plate appearances going back to the start of the 2021 season. That includes an excellent .295/.379/.536 showing against left-handed pitching, making the three-time All-Star a particularly strong fit for teams seeking righty-hitting infield help. The Diamondbacks, Royals and Marlins could all fit that description, making them viable speculative possibilities.
Longoria has previously alluded to the possibility of retiring after an illustrious 15-year big league career. That’s at least theoretically possible, although he tells Slusser this afternoon he’s looking forward to seeing what free agency might offer. That at least suggests he’s open to opportunities to continue playing in 2023.