Evan Longoria has played 200 more games than anyone else who has worn the uniform of Tampa Bay’s major league team. He arrived halfway through its 20-season history, just as the team rebranded itself as the Rays, from the Devil Rays, in 2008. Longoria ended that season in the World Series.
The Rays have never returned, though they have mostly been a winning team with Longoria as their centerpiece. Now, after four seasons out of the playoffs, they will move forward without Longoria, after trading him to the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday.
Longoria, a 32-year-old third baseman, is the Rays’ career leader in home runs, runs batted in, runs scored, total bases and wins above replacement. The other major league team in Florida, the Miami Marlins, also traded its career WAR leader, outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, this month, in a cost-cutting trade with the Yankees.
The Rays acquired the top infield prospect Christian Arroyo, along with the veteran center fielder Denard Span and the pitching prospects Matt Krook and Stephen Woods. They also sent cash to the Giants, who shed the $13 million they owed Span in the final year of his contract.
Longoria has five years and $86 million remaining on his deal, after hitting .261 with 20 homers and a .737 on-base plus slugging percentage in 2017, the second-lowest of his career. He would have had veto power over trades as soon as he reached 10 full years of service early in the 2018 season.
The Giants — who could not convince Stanton to join them after working out a trade with the Marlins — needed a jolt to an offense that had the fewest homers and the lowest O.P.S. in the majors last season. A three-time World Series champion this decade, the Giants stumbled to 98 losses in 2017, tied with Detroit for the most in the majors and two shy of their franchise record.