The Tampa Bay Rays have now been without Evan Longoria for a year, as it has been 365 days since the Rays blew up the franchise and ignited the rage of the fanbase as they traded Evan Longoria and cash to the San Francisco Giants for Denard Span, Christian Arroyo, Matt Krook, and Stephen Woods.
The trade was panned at first with the Rays trading away their franchise cornerstone, the player who had a signed a team friendly, long-term contract extension to keep him with Tampa Bay forever. The shock that occurred only strengthened when it was discovered the Rays were actually going to still be paying Longoria while he was with the Giants, with a seemingly lackluster return of players as well.
However, the year played out, and the Rays went on to win 90 games, their highest total since winning the Wild Card in 2013, and the Rays did it without Longoria.
Denard Span quickly swayed public opinion as he helped carry the team during the first two months of the season, but then he too, was traded—along with Alex Colome—to the Seattle Mariners.
Meanwhile, Christian Arroyo spent a couple stints with the Rays this season but faced sporadic playing time and was a frequent traveler on the Durham shuttle. That is, until he was hit in the head by a pitch in late July and suffered a concussion that effectively sidelined him for the remainder of the season.
For his part, Matt Krook displayed an impressive K% in Double-A for the Rays, while also serving as one of the players experimenting with the Opener, logging 74.0 innings pitched over 37 appearances (six starts). Stephen Woods missed the entire 2018 season with an apparent injury as he spent the year on the disabled list in Single-A.
Although the performance of those four may not blow you away, Evan Longoria provided the worst season of his major league career for the San Francisco Giants.
Longoria hit .244/.281/.413 with 16 home runs over 512 plate appearances. His offensive output came to 85 wRC+, the worst of his career while he was just barely above replacement level with 0.4 fWAR.
We may have questioned the deal at the time and lambasted the Rays front office for dealing away the face of the franchise, but as the Rays have continuously shown, we have to trust the process.