Arizona Diamondbacks fit at this stage of career

Beginning in 2023, it will be four seasons since Evan Longoria appeared in at least 90 games in one season.

The 37-year-old infielder is fully aware of his worth. That value is as much about his willingness to influence others when he’s not playing as it is about his baseball ability.

Even before free agency began, the former Tampa Bay Rays and San Francisco Giants admitted to the rarity of offering a short list of landing spots…his current team, his former team, and the Arizona Diamonds. Bucks.

“Obviously, this is one of the three places I mentioned at the end of the year for the possibility of free agency,” Longoria said on Zoom with reporters on Friday. “This location makes the most sense for me and my family. We live seven or eight minutes from Talking Stick. We live 25 minutes from downtown Phoenix.” So in terms of being idyllic overall, it doesn’t get any better for us.

“But that wasn’t the only factor. Having watched this team from the other side of the diamond many times over the last year, I really believe that this team has a chance to run and a chance to be special. There’s a lot of young talent and I think the pitching staff is primed for a big year.”

Longoria appeared in 89 games for the Giants last year, batting .244/.315/.451. 767, he recorded his 13 doubles, 14 home runs, 42 RBIs, 27 walks, and 83 strikeouts.

His 27.9% strikeout rate was the highest of his career, including the 2008-17 season in Tampa Bay and the 2018-22 season in San Francisco.

Longoria still puts up strong numbers against left-handed pitchers, averaging .282 and OPS.812.

He said he expects to platoon with Josh Rojas at third base and is looking forward to picking the 28-year-old brain to help him.

“I think Josh has a very high ceiling. I think he can be a special player,” Longoria said. “And I think he’s probably going to get a lot of at-bats against right-handers. Especially he starts against third basemen, but he’s also a very versatile player, so I think we’re going to challenge him.” The lineup might change a little bit in terms of doing ‘to get him in there as much as possible. “

Diamondback General Manager Mike Hazen and Longoria talked about their split time in third place. Hazen also said Rojas could see some time playing second base.

This duo, as well as second baseman Ketel Marte and first baseman Christian Walker, are expected to see more opportunities in the designated hitter role to keep them fresh.

“There’s a lot of flexibility in being able to work with all these spots,” Hazen said Friday.

The general manager said negotiations with Longoria were delayed because Arizona was in trade talks for an outfielder’s stash.

The D-backs eventually traded Daulton Varsho to the Toronto Blue Jays, and when the infielder wasn’t included in the return on that trade, the team turned to the free agent market for a veteran leader to complement its young core. I turned it.

It was important for Longoria to seek the opportunity to play in front of his family.

He has 9, 8 and 1 year olds.

“It would have taken a rather significant offer from another team to dissuade me from doing everything I could to agree to the terms here, because that would be very important for us and my family. All of my kids are looking forward to being able to attend as many games as possible outside of school…but just being able to attend more, they’re that age.” he said.

“They want to come on the field after the game and spend the weekend at the ballpark or something. mental From my point of view, I would be in a much better place than I have been in the last few years.

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