Saturday, July 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Evan Longoria trade: Dealing Longo for a Longo fan

ST. PETERSBURG — Christian Arroyo grew up in the Tampa/Brooksville area very much an Evan Longoria fan.

He remembers when Longoria was called up to the Rays in April 2008. He remembers Longoria’s walkoff home run in Game 162 in 2011 that clinched a wild-card playoff berth. He once tacked a Rays schedule that included a picture of Longoria to his bedroom wall.

And Arroyo was one of the first to learn that Longoria was traded to the Giants on Wednesday in exchange for four players: veteran outfielder Denard Span, two low-level minor-league pitchers and Arroyo, a versatile infielder.

"I know for a lot of Rays fans out there it hurts," he said. "For me, if I was still a fan, it would hurt me, too, because I was a huge Evan Longoria fan. This is a guy who is the face of the franchise. That’s the thing about baseball. You have to make business decisions, and sometimes they hurt. "

Arroyo, the Class 5A player of the year in 2013 as a senior at Hernando High and the 25th overall draft pick that June by the Giants, hopes the reason he is part of the trade is to be a key piece in the youth movement the Rays’ front office hopes will propel the franchise back into the ranks of playoff contenders.

(RELATED: Tampa Bay Rays trade franchise cornerstone Evan Longoria to Giants)

"I’m just trying to look at it as a good opportunity for me," said Arroyo, who plays second, third and shortstop. "I don’t ever want to replicate myself as an Evan Longoria, because he’s a once-in-a-generation-type player. He’s a phenomenal player. Evan Longoria is Evan Longoria. I just want to go out there and play my game and make myself better every year."

Arroyo, 22, considers shortstop his natural position but is comfortable playing second or third. He was rated the Giants’ top prospect by mlb.com and fourth overall by Baseball America . He made his major-league debut last season after batting .439 with a .471 on-base percentage and a .682 slugging percentage in 17 games at Triple-A Sacramento. He did struggle at the plate with the Giants, batting .192 with a .244 on-base percentage and a .304 slugging percentage with three home runs and 14 RBIs in 34 games.

Rays general manager Erik Neander said the team’s scouts determined that Arroyo is ready to take the step from being a Triple-A player to one who can succeed in the majors.

"What we saw early (last) year and some of the adjustments (he made) and the way the game was starting to slow down for him and the way he was starting to drive the ball gives us some hope that this is someone offensively that can be a guy that you can build around and defensively can move around, play a lot of defensive positions and plays the game the right way," Neander said.

The Rays are excited to add Arroyo to the group at Durham that won the Triple-A title last summer, Neander said. That core is projected to be the foundation of a winning team at the big-league level, "ideally sooner rather than later," Neander said.

Arroyo missed the second half of last season after breaking his left hand when struck by a pitch. He said the bone is healing well and he expects to be cleared for baseball activities when visiting the surgeon Jan. 9.

(RELATED: So long, Evan Longoria. We’ll always have Game 162)

"The main thing is to get healthy. That’s first and foremost," Arroyo said. "From here on out it’s getting ready for the season and put myself in position to even make the team. That’s not promised to anyone. Just because you’re getting traded for a player like Even Longoria, you still have to earn it. My intentions are to earn a spot on that team and be a guy who can help the Rays out for years to come. Doing it in front of my family and friends makes it all that much better."

Arroyo said he was aware of the possibility of a trade for several days. He knew the Giants were looking for a third baseman and a right-handed bat, so he wasn’t as caught by surprise when the trade became official.

"It’s definitely not the worst thing that can happen," he said. "Obviously, it’s sad to leave an organization that drafted you as an 18-year-old kid, developed you as a player, helped you grow up. They kind of made me the man I am today. It’s bittersweet, for sure."

 
Comments
Rays journal: Replacement catcher Adam Moore ready to play

Rays journal: Replacement catcher Adam Moore ready to play

ST. PETERSBURG — The newest Rays player is also nearly the oldest.With All-Star C Wilson Ramos on the disabled list with a hamstring injury, Tampa Bay turned to veteran Adam Moore, 34, as the new backup catcher behind Jesus Sucre. Only reliever...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Martin Fennelly: Rays and Marlins at different stages of same mission

Martin Fennelly: Rays and Marlins at different stages of same mission

ST. PETERSBURG — New York Yankees god and former Tampa resident Derek Jeter, who was once going to save the Rays (or so we thought), was at Tropicana Field on Friday night. The Captain had the gall to show up as Miami Marlins chief executive of...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Late rally falls short as Rays lose to Marlins, 6-5

Late rally falls short as Rays lose to Marlins, 6-5

ST. PETERSBURG –The Rays rallied for four runs in the bottom of the ninth Friday night, but their rally came up short as the Marlins held on for a 6-5 win at Tropicana Field.Tampa Bay's bullpen gave up five runs in the seventh, and that was too...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Kiermaier has ‘severe bone bruise’ in foot, dates back to April injury

Kiermaier has ‘severe bone bruise’ in foot, dates back to April injury

Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier left Friday's game in the fifth inning when an injury to his right foot that has bothered him since April flared up with the worst pain he's encountered this season.Kiermaier called the injury a "severe bone bruise" an...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Greg Auman’s takeaways from Friday’s Rays-Marlins game

Greg Auman’s takeaways from Friday’s Rays-Marlins game

Nathan Eovaldi bounced back nicely following an eight-out, eight-run outing last week vs. the Twins. He lasted six innings, gave up one run and struck out eight. Take away the Twins game and Eovaldi has allowed three earned runs in his past four star...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier leaves game with foot discomfort

Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier leaves game with foot discomfort

Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier, who missed two months earlier this season with a thumb injury, left Friday night's game against the Marlins with what the team described as "right foot discomfort."It wasn't immediately clear when the injury occurred,...
Updated: 6 hours ago
For starters: Rays open second half at home vs. Marlins

For starters: Rays open second half at home vs. Marlins

Greetings from Tropicana Field, where the Rays come out of the All-Star break with a three-game series against the Marlins. Here's the lineup for Tampa Bay, which dropped two of three to the Marlins in Miami:Kiermaier CFHechavarria SSBauers 1BRoberts...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Rays call up C Adam Moore to replace injured Wilson Ramos

Rays call up C Adam Moore to replace injured Wilson Ramos

The Rays made the easiest move to replace injure C Wilson Ramos, calling up journeyman Adam Moore from Triple-A.Moore, 34, has played parts of eight seasons in the majors, last with the Indians in 2016 and before that with the Mariners, Royals and Pa...
Published: 07/20/18
Marc Topkin: Rays should trade Chris Archer

Marc Topkin: Rays should trade Chris Archer

ST. PETERSBURG — Chris Archer wants the Rays to get going.Trade more veterans. Bring back Willy Adames and bring up the next group of kids. Get on with getting better, and get back to reaching the postseason, as they did four times over six yea...
Published: 07/19/18
Updated: 07/20/18
Rays journal: Catcher needed with Wilson Ramos on DL

Rays journal: Catcher needed with Wilson Ramos on DL

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays did not have any answers Thursday about the state of their catching situation as to how long Wilson Ramos will be out and who will be added to replace him Friday against the Marlins.Ramos was placed on the DL Wednesday...
Published: 07/19/18