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By: Team Red Zone 8 months ago

The Tampa Bay Rays has said goodbye to their greatest ever player Wednesday when Evan Longoria was traded to the San Francisco Giants.

The face of the franchise for nearly ten years, Longoria was a first round pick for the club in 2006 and has gone on to be one of the most loved players to ever grace the field for the Rays.

Longoria has shown real loyalty to the club and twice signed for below market, long term deals. Add to that his leadership and on the field commitment, you can see why the Rays were hesitant to let him go.

Like every business, money changes everything. With Longoria due for a hefty $13.5 million salary for 2018, his long term payment of $86 million, plus an option that would see the Rays paying him a total of $94 million, you can see why the Rays decided to reduce their payroll by offloading the player.

The other factor in his trade is the fact that he will have played 10 years for the team in April and Longoria will be eligible for no-trade rights. The Rays never agree to that in contracts so next year would have been a problem for them and the player.

The rumors have been swirling since the end of last season and during baseball’s winter meetings the rumors intensified and Longoria resigned himself to the fact he may well be traded.

Prior to the trade Longoria spoke to the press via text about the rumors: “I don’t know what to think, really,” he said: “I think they have made it pretty clear that they want to cut salary, so I guess that leaves me somewhere in limbo.

”I think I’ve been pretty upfront about wanting to be in Tampa (Bay) for my whole career, but I realize that my window is getting smaller to win a championship. If they decide to rebuild completely and give everyone up, then I suppose my family and I will adjust.”

San Francisco are getting a player still on top of his game. The three-time All-Star won his third Gold Glove last season, he also hit 20 homers, his hitting average was .261, and racked up 86 RBIs.

Photos: Getty