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Rays trade Evan Longoria to Giants

The franchise icon heads west, with Christian Arroyo headlining the return for the Rays.

Baltimore Orioles v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Joseph Garnett Jr./Getty Images

The Rays traded franchise icon Evan Longoria and cash to the Giants on Wednesday, as first reported by Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Tampa Bay receives infielder Christian Arroyo, outfielder Denard Span, right-hander Stephen Woods and lefty Matt Krook in the trade, per Yahoo’s Jeff Passan.

The trade of Longoria signals that the Rays are serious about a rebuild after finishing last season in fourth place in the AL East. Longoria, who will go down as one of the most decorated Rays in franchise history, was the team’s first-round pick in 2006 and has spent 10 seasons as a fixture in its lineup.

Longoria, 32, is the first impact addition for a Giants club that is expected to be aggressive in its attempts to add players after losing 98 games in 2017. He will slot into an infield that already includes veterans Brandon Belt, Joe Panik and Brandon Crawford and could soon be joined by an outfield addition, either via free agency or trade.

Longoria is controlled through the 2023 season, giving the Giants five seasons of his services before a team option kicks in for 2023. He is owed $86 million in that span, though Tampa Bay will pitch in some cash to help offset that cost.

Longoria hit .261/.313/.424 with 20 homers and won a Gold Glove in his final season in Tampa last season, ending his tenure with the Rays with a career .270/.341/.483 line, three All-Star appearances, a Rookie of the Year award and three Gold Gloves.

With Longoria traded, the Rays will continue to shop other trade candidates, with Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi and Corey Dickerson as other possible chips. They had a soft deadline to move Longoria, as he would have gained 10-and-5 rights and a full no-trade clause in April.

The Giants are expected to turn their attention to adding an outfield bat, with Jay Bruce and J.D. Martinez among the club’s potential options. They aggressively pursued Giancarlo Stanton before Stanton refused to waive his no-trade clause for a deal to San Francisco and was dealt to the Yankees.

The prize of the return package for Tampa Bay is Arroyo, who was the 25th-overall pick in the 2013 draft and is currently ranked by MLB.com as the 57th-best prospect in all of baseball. Arroyo, who has the ability to slot in at shortstop or third base, will present Tampa Bay with a long-term options alongside Adeiny Hechavarria and ex-Giant Matt Duffy on the left side of the infield.

Arroyo struggled to a .192/.244/.304 line in 34 major-league games in his debut in 2017 before missing the entire second half of the season with a broken hand. He hit .396 in 25 Triple-A games before his promotion and is likely to see major-league time again in 2018.

Span, a Tampa native, was worth -1.1 WAR for San Francisco last year, hitting .272 with 12 homers and 12 steals in his second season with the Giants. He’s owed $15 million ($11 million in 2018 and a $4 million buyout in 2019), offsetting some of the costs heading to San Francisco via Longoria’s contract.

Woods, 22, was originally selected by the Rays as a high-schooler in the sixth round of the 2013 draft. He chose to attend Albany instead and was selected by San Francisco in the eighth round three years later. He was ranked as the 29th-best prospect in the Giants’ system after posting a strong 2.95 ERA in 23 starts at Single-A.

Krook, 23, was San Francisco’s fourth-round pick in 2016 and was ranked by MLB Pipeline the 25th-best prospect in the team’s system. The southpaw struggles with control and owned a 5.12 ERA in 91.1 innings at Hi-A San Jose last season.