I listened to yesterday’s game on the radio until extra innings, just in time to see Evan Longoria take a 100.9 mph ground ball all off his throwing hand. The ball hit him so hard that he couldn’t finish the play. He actually stayed in there and finished the game, being the first guy to grab Wilmer Flores after the game-winning run scored:
DAVID VILLAR WALKS IT OFF pic.twitter.com/trwOqSUfBy— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) October 2, 2022
Super cool and what a pro. Longoria’s San Francisco Giants career has been marred by injuries, but when he’s been in there, he’s been one of the better members of the team. All that came to an end today with this series of roster moves:
#SFGiants roster moves:— SFGiants (@SFGiants) October 3, 2022
• IF Evan Longoria placed on the 15-day IL
• LHP Thomas Szapucki placed on the 15-day IL
• OF Bryce Johnson recalled from Triple-A Sacramento
• LHP Andrew Vasquez selected from Triple-A Sacramento.
• LHP Alex Wood transferred to the 60-day IL
It has been said many times before that the Giants owe Evan Longoria $5 million at the minimum this offseason, should they choose to buy out the final year of his deal, or else they can hold onto him for an extra $8 million. With J.D. Davis and David Villar already on the roster, and Casey Schmitt looming in the minors, maybe the Giants see that $8 million as being more valuable to them next year than Longoria’s veteran presence and above league average bat.
There’s also this little twist of the knife:
Evan Longoria will be rehabbing for 4-6 weeks, he guesses, but he still wants to play next year. The Giants hold a $13 million option. Longoria said there are a couple of other places that could be intriguing in free agency but his preference is to be a Giant.— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) October 3, 2022
If we were still in the Brian Sabean or Bobby Evans era, that option pickup might seem a lot more certain. There just doesn’t seem a lot of room in the new front office’s calculation for an oft-injured 37-year old corner bat on a team about 40% of the way through a rebuild. Or there could be a lot of room for that kind of player specifically for the reason that there’s not a lot to lose in bringing him back one more year. And at the end of the day, major leaguers who actually want to play in San Francisco seem like a rare animal.
Like I said in yesterday’s IL news post about Logan Webb (and, to a lesser extent, Jakob Junis), the IL is a bummer way to end a season for any player, and at least in Longoria’s case, it’s because of a legitimate injury and not a precautionary or procedural measure. The 28-man roster limit for September certainly had everything to do with those moves — today’s is something else.
If this is how Evan Longoria’s Giants career ends, it will be a flat out bummer. If this is how his professional baseball career ends, it will be sad. Nobody thinks Evan Longoria will lead the league in anything next year, but he’s had a hell of a career and I think those of us who consume the whole 162 prefer it when players have a chance to go out on their own terms.
Speaking of which, Scott Boras chimed in on his client, Carlos Rodón’s innings status:
Scott Boras tells me Carlos Rodón is perfectly healthy as evidenced by his last start but has reached an innings limit of 180 - an increase of 50 - and it would be ideal for him to be protected like Logan Webb. If he goes on IL today - he’s not injured. Just reached innings max.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) October 3, 2022
Rodón wants to be out there just like Longoria — just like most baseball players. That’s the cool thing about pro athletes: yes, they’re “getting millions to play a child’s game” and they’re playing it with a child’s joy. Rodón can still pitch for the NL strikeout title, but I don’t think any of us would blame him if he wanted to shut it down, too.
And if that happens, it will be a bummer for a whole different reason, because it’s exceedingly clear the Giants will Gausman him and not even make him a free agent offer. With Kyle Harrison potentially ready to go in May or June in 2023, the Giants being out of the 2023 NL West race before it even starts, and their ability to find gems in the free agent starting pitcher market (DeScalafani, Wood, Cobb), there’s just not much of a need for Rodón. And for as much as ownership might push for Farhan Zaidi to make a big splash, there’s just absolutely zero evidence to believe that splash will be in the zone of violating the sabermetric principle of no long-term deals for pitchers.
I want to see Rodón pitch again because I like watching good baseball players play baseball, and he’s been one of the best starting pitchers I’ve seen as a fan of this team.