Anchored at the bottom of the American League East standings, the Tampa Bay Rays will be sellers at the MLB trade deadline on Aug. 1, and a big question is whether franchise stalwart Evan Longoria could be on the move.
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Report: Longoria Trade More Likely in Offseason
Monday, July 18
According to MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi, the Rays are discussing potential deals with the Los Angeles Dodgers ahead of the trade deadline. Morosi threw out Longoria as one of the players included in the discussions but added the chances of him playing in L.A. this year are slim:
[Justin] Turner is among the biggest barriers to a Longoria trade over the next two weeks. He's popular in the clubhouse and integral to the lineup, with a .942 OPS since June 1. It's unclear if the Dodgers would be willing to move Turner to second base for the remainder of the season in order to clear room for Longoria, a two-time American League Gold Glove Award winner at third base.
The Dodgers may calculate -- reasonably -- that there's little chance of Longoria being dealt to another team prior to Aug. 1. The Astros had been in the market for a third baseman, but that is no longer the case following Friday's deal with Cuban free agent Yulieski Gurriel. The Giants have had interest in Longoria before, but they're not believed to be engaged in active talks with the Rays about him now.
Trading a franchise cornerstone is never easy. And Longoria is one of the few players remaining from the Rays teams that regularly contended for the playoffs.
At the same time, Tampa Bay is going nowhere in the short term, and trading Longoria could return an asset or two who could further the team's long-term rebuild. The Rays would also be wise to strike while the iron is hot in the event they envision parting ways with their starting third baseman anytime soon.
Longoria, 30, is putting together a strong 2016 season. Through 89 games, he's has a .286/.336/.533 slash line to go along with 21 home runs and 49 runs batted in. According to FanGraphs, Longoria's 3.5 WAR has him on pace to have his best year since 2013.
His value may never be higher than it is right now, so the upcoming winter may be a good time for the Rays to seriously consider moving him.
Longoria will be owed $100 million over six years starting in 2017, per Cot's Baseball Contracts. While teams generally shy away from trading for players signed to long deals, Longoria won't be earning so much that his contract dissuades every potential suitor.
Longoria is no longer the hitter he was in his first four years in MLB, but he'd almost certainly command a lot of interest throughout the league if the Rays ever made him available.