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Mets trade rumors: Tampa Bay is looking to move Evan Longoria, and New York is a potential landing spot

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets have already explored many different avenues in regards to acquiring an infielder who can hit this offseason. One possibility we’re first hearing about this week is Evan Longoria, the face of the Rays franchise who is expected to be traded before the start of the 2018 regular season.

As much as it understandably would pain Rays fans, execs with several other teams expect Longoria to be dealt before he gains no-trade status in April. Circumstances are much different, but the Stanton situation had to be a lesson.

The story, by Tampa Bay reporter Marc Topkin, lists the Mets — along with the Cardinals, Giants, and Yankees — as a potential landing spot for the veteran third baseman. Longoria is a beloved figure in the Tampa area, but he’s also 32 years old and coming off of a season in which he hit .261/.313/.424 with 20 home runs. That’s his lowest full-season home run total ever, and it came in a season that saw the ball fly out of the park at a record pace.

With Longoria set to earn $87 million over the next five seasons, you can see why Tampa Bay would be willing to deal him. If his offense continues to decline with age, his contract will become a drag on a franchise that has never posted a payroll as high as $80 million. The good news for the Mets and other potential buyers is that Longoria has played in more than 150 games in each of the last five years. Plus, he’s continued to be a solid defensive player throughout his tenure.

In 2016, Longoria had his best power season ever with 36 home runs, a .248 isolated power, and a 123 wRC+. If he has another couple of campaigns like that left in him, the Long Beach State product could prove to be a bargain. The biggest obstacles for the Mets would be ponying up a competitive prospect package and providing enough financial relief to make the trade worth it for the Rays.

Since money is the primary motivator in the deal for Tampa Bay, any team that is willing to take on Longoria’s entire contract probably won’t have to offer much in the way of prospects. Unfortunately, the Mets might be just as lacking in the young talent department as they are with cash. However, if the beleaguered front office is able to land a star like Longoria, it would certainly raise the morale of a fan base that has been hoping for an infusion of offense this offseason.