Braves: Does Evan Longoria make sense as a trade target?

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With Ian Anderson spinning a gem against one of baseball’s elite in his MLB debut, the need for a starting pitcher is no longer as glaring as it was last week. Atlanta could still use one more impact arm with Mike Soroka injured for the foreseeable future, and Cole Hamels’ health a massive question mark, but their third base situation could also be improved.

Austin Riley has made some pretty significant strides in the past two weeks, but can he be trusted for the playoff run? Over his last seven games, he’s slugged .522, and he’s improved his batting average by ninety points in August. It would appear the 23-year-old slugger is slowly climbing out of the metaphorical cellar. However, with Johan Camargo providing next to nothing offensively, the Braves could be monitoring the third-base market, and there’s a veteran slugger for San Francisco worth mentioning.

Growing up, Evan Longoria was one of my favorite players, as an unstoppable force for Tampa Bay. Those days may be long gone, but Longoria has been effective so far in 2020. His .805 OPS shows he still has something left in the tank after suffering multiple injuries over the last few years.

Longoria’s been a massive disappointment for the Giants since moving there in 2017, and he still has three years left on a six-year, $100 million deal (one of those years is a club option). If the Giants are seeking cap relief, Atlanta can get him for basically nothing. Hell, San Francisco might even attach a prospect along with him — if it means getting rid of his contract.

It’s also worth noting this deal is backloaded — Longoria will get $18.5 million in 2021 and $19 million in 2022 before his $13 million club option in 2023. Atlanta would be overpaying for an aging star whose best days are behind him, but a deal could probably be worked out where the Giants are eating a large chunk of that money. So is it even worth Alex Anthopoulos’ time?

I’m still a member of the Austin Riley fan club, and this past month has made me even more of a believer. You have to see what he’s made of eventually, and a trade like this would stunt his progress. If the DH was a permanent addition to the National League, Longoria would make for an intriguing candidate as his career winds down. However, that is not a guarantee, and it is just way too much money to spend on a player that might not even have a place to play next season. Riley started slow, but he looks like the third baseman of the future, which means the Braves really shouldn’t be trying to add there. Rotation help is still the most significant need for this team, and I fully expect that to take priority over the next five days.

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