At 22 years old, he signed what turned out to be an extraordinarily team-friendly contract that guaranteed him $17.5 million over six years with team options for three more years.
The 32-year-old Longoria leaves Tampa Bay as the longest-tenured player in franchise history, after spending almost 10 seasons in a Rays uniform. Tampa Bay dropped the "Devil" from its nickname, went from worst-to-first the following year on a stunning run to the World Series, and has been to the playoffs three more times since while going 855-766 (.527) in its second decade.
Longoria a three-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove victor, has hit at least 20 home runs in nine of his 10 Major League Baseball seasons. However, lets not sugar coat things Longoria is 32, showing signs of decline, and the Giants finished last season 40 games back of the Dodgers with a roster with very little sustainable youth.
Longoria, who has spent his entire 10 year career with the Rays, was unsure of his future this off-season, according to Marc Topkin at the Tampa Bay Times. The trade is now official, having been announced by both teams. Now, after four seasons out of the playoffs, they will move forward without Longoria, after trading him to the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday.
"Evan gives us a Gold Glove-caliber player at third base and also provides us a middle of the order presence in the lineup", Giants general manager Bobby Evans said. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic added that the Rays are also sending cash to the Giants to help offset Longoria's remaining salary. San Francisco wanted a two-way threat, and Longoria's power and Gold Glove defense are exactly what the Giants were looking for in the trade market.
UPDATE, 4:02: It doesn't sound like the Rays and Cardinals will be making a deal today, Derrick Goold writing for the St. Louis Post Dispatch that Cardinals execs "leave the Walt Disney Dolphin resort with good feel for what Tampa Bay would be willin". Accustomed to disappointment even after that 2008 season at least made their team relevant, they're now left to search for another player to sustain their hope.
Now that the Rays have parted ways with a franchise icon, it could open the floodgates. With Longoria gone, expect Tampa to get aggressive about moving closer Alex Colome, starter Jake Odorizzi, and-most intriguing of all-staff ace Chris Archer.