Veteran third baseman Evan Longoria signed a 1-year deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks on Jan 5. It’s a bit of a homecoming for the former San Francisco Giant as he and his family reside in the Valley during the off-season.
Longoria said the deal was nearly complete on Christmas day, giving he and his family another reason to celebrate.
“We had some wine. Made a little toast. It was a relief because I was beginning to think we would have to wait until after the new year and we have to travel back home. We have three kids and it was starting to get a little stressful. But to be able to get that weight lifted off the shoulders and end up in a place that really was top on the list made for a pretty special holiday.
Going into free agency, Longoria says familiarity was important. He voiced that former teams Tampa Bay and San Francisco were the other two options he would’ve been excited about.
“I really do believe that this team has a chance to make a run and a chance to be special. There’s a ton of young talent and the pitching staff is primed for a really big year.”
As a 3-time AL All-Star and Gold Glove winner, Longo brings veteran talent and a utility skill set to the Diamondbacks. He says he’s noticed his role shift over the last couple of seasons and has embraced his role as a mentor in the sport.
“If I can help a guy a guy to become the kind of player that we as an organization believe he can be then you know we’re adding wins in another way. Although I hope to be on the field as much as possible and contributing physically in terms of wins and losses on the field, you know, my role has definitely pivoted a little bit as I’ve gotten older these last couple of years.”
Before the one-year deal was finalized Evan says he spoke at length with Torey Lovullo and Mike Hazen about beginning his career as a Diamondback as a platoon third base position. He would share third with Josh Rojas and expects Rojas will get a lot of at-bats against right-handers while Longo could fulfill the need against left-handed pitchers.
“One of the things that was a big factor for me coming into the year or coming into the offseason was not only can I find a place that is a good fit but also a place that’s gonna try to put a winning team out there and have a chance to be in the playoffs.”