With the Diamondbacks still in the thick of a playoff run, third baseman Evan Longoria surely hasn’t had much time to ponder whether or not he’ll continue playing beyond the 2023 season in recent days. That being said, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale indicated today that the veteran, who celebrated his 38th birthday over the weekend, is “leaning towards” playing again in 2024, though he’s made no official decision at this point.
That Longoria would consider playing beyond this season is of little surprise. In part time duty with the Diamondbacks this season, the veteran has slashed .223/.295/.422 with a wRC+ of 92 in 74 games. Those numbers are decent for a part-time player, but what really sticks out is Longoria’s performance prior to being shelved for a month with a lower back strain at the end of July. At the time of his injury, Longoria’s slash line was an impressive .238/.303/.500 with 11 home runs and nine doubles in just 178 plate appearances. Those well above average numbers and the significant power Longoria flashed would make him a useful addition to plenty of teams, particularly given his apparent willingness to accept a part-time role.
What’s more, a career milestone could be within reach for Longoria if he returns in 2024: the veteran has 1,930 hits for his career to this point, putting him just 70 away from 2,000 career hits. While Longoria hasn’t reached 70 hits in a season in recent years, he’s come very close with 66- and 65-hit campaigns in 2021 and 2022, respectively. If he decides to continue playing in 2024, he’d join a free agent class at third base that includes Jeimer Candelario, Matt Chapman, and Gio Urshela.
More from around MLB’s West divisions…
- Though he was left off the Rangers’ roster for the ALDS, veteran right-hander Max Scherzer is seemingly making good progress in his bid to return from what was initially expected to be a season-ending teres major strain. As relayed by Rangers beat reporter John Moore, Scherzer told manager Bruce Bochy today that he feels “normal” after a successful bullpen session against live hitters on Friday. Given the positive update, it seems reasonable that Scherzer could remain in play for the Rangers during the ALCS, should the club make it that far. Texas currently holds a 2-0 lead over the Orioles in the ALDS. If Scherzer can return this postseason, it would surely be a major boost for the Rangers. The future Hall of Famer posted a 3.20 ERA and 3.45 FIP across eight starts with the Rangers after the club acquired him from the Mets at the trade deadline.
- Astros fans received a bit of a scare during last night’s loss to the Twins when shortstop Jeremy Pena suffered an awkward landing on first base while running out the final out of the game. Fortunately, Matt Kawahara of the Houston Chronicle relayed this afternoon that Pena was on the field and taking grounders during the club’s workout session during today’s off-day in Minnesota. Given Pena’s participation in the workout, it seems whatever may have been ailing Pena won’t be an issue headed into Game 3 of the ALDS tomorrow. Pena, who hit .263/.324/.381 in 634 trips to the plate this season, would likely be backed up by Mauricio Dubon at shortstop in the event that he was unable to play.