The Giants refused to rebuild this past offseason after finishing 2017 with the second-worst record in baseball. Brian Sabean, Bobby Evans and the rest of the front office stared at this team's window of opportunity and stayed in win-now mode, using the classic line of a "reload" over a rebuild.
Shooting for the San Francisco stars, the team went all in on Giancarlo Stanton, before the now-Yankee turned them down, and traded off top prospects for former stars Andrew McCutchen and Evan Longoria. Through the team's first 69 games, the two have looked exactly as described -- former stars. McCutchen has come on strong lately, hitting two two-run home runs in the last two games. He's batting .356 with four home runs over a 10-game stretch and is up to .267 with eight home runs on the year. The former MVP may be finding his stride as he figures out the NL West.
Longoria on the other hand, hasn't found much success in his first season with San Francisco. At the time of fracturing his left hand Thursday in Miami, Longoria was slashing .246/.278/.434. The positive is Longoria's 10 home runs rank second on the Giants and he leads the team with 34 RBI, but he simply hasn't been consistent and isn't getting on base enough.
In 2017, Longoria finished with a career-low .313 on-base percentage and he's 35 points lower this year as he has 10 walks to 57 strikeouts. And the three-time Gold Glove third baseman has committed 11 errors in 66 games, three off his career-high for a season.
The Giants had to part ways with former top prospect Christian Arroyo to acquire Longoria in the offseason. At just 21 years old last year, Arroyo's bat was too good to keep in Triple-A. After 16 games with Sacramento, the team's top hitting prospect was batting .446 and was called up to San Francisco. In 34 games, Arroyo proved to be a pup with the big dogs in the majors. He hit .192 with three home runs and 32 strikeouts in 34 games with the Giants. But with the Rays, Arroyo's second crack at the majors looks much dfferent in Year 2 compared to Year 1.
Arroyo's season was cut short in 2017 with a fractured wrist. He started the season in Triple-A Durham this year and was quickly put on the shelf again, this time with a calf injury. Overcoming his wrsit injury, Arroyo's start to the season in Triple-A was the complete opposite this year than last. When the Rays called up Arroyo from Durham, he was batting .200 in 17 games with a .235 on-base percentage and .308 slugging percentage, not exactly major-league-ready numbers. And then, Arroyo replaced old friend Matt Duffy in his Rays debut and laced two singles.
The recently turned 23-year-old has now played in 19 games, 18 starts, with the Rays. Drafted as a shortstop, Arroyo has played eight games at second base, six at third base and was the DH in two. He finds himself in an infield logjam, but Tampa Bay is in a youth movement and will be sellers before the trade deadline. Arroyo started off hot for the Rays and is now slashing .280/.357/.420 with one home run.
Offensively, Arroyo is showing maturity with six walks, two less than his eight in 34 games with the Giants, and is barreling the ball with hard contact. Arroyo's average exit velocity is up from 87.4 mph with the Giants to 91.8 mph with the Rays. Longoria has a 90.0 average exit velocity this season. While he will never be a huge home run threat, the stocky-built Arroyo finds the barrel consistently and should at least find gap-to-gap power.
In an attempt to make another run at October in 2018, there's no denying San Francisco's move to add the 32-year-old Longoria, who is signed through 2022 with a team option for 2023. At the same time, Arroyo, 23, is showing the versatility around the infield and growth with his bat that had Giants fan frothing in the past thinking about his future.