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Dodgers trade rumors: Evan Longoria returns to Dodger Stadium

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

With the Rays in town to face the Dodgers, that means the return of Evan Longoria to Dodger Stadium, where he watched games growing up. It also gives us a chance to revisit a trade rumor of recent weeks.

The St. John's Bosco grad and former Long Beach State Dirtbag is enjoying his best season in either three or four years. The third baseman is hitting .287/.337/.538 with 22 home runs and 26 doubles in 96 games. His slugging percentage would be the highest of his career, and while on pace for 36 home runs this year he has already beat his 2015 total by one and matched his 2014 output.

Longoria owns a .364 wOBA and a 132 wRC+, right in line with his production in his first six seasons, putting up a .317 wOBA and 135 wRC+ from 2008-2013. In the last two seasons combined, Longoria had a .321 wOBA and 108 wRC+.

He's back at Dodger Stadium for the first time since 2013, the only other time the Rays came to Los Angeles.

"Ton of history there," Longoria said of Chavez Ravine, to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. "It's a place I grew up watching ballgames. Dodger Stadium is cool."

Even with the two relative down years in 2014-2015, Longoria has never dipped below three Wins Above Replacement in a season, either using Baseball-Reference or FanGraphs, except for his 74-game, injury-plagued 2012 season, but even that year saw him post either 2.2 or 2.5 WAR in his essentially half-season.

Accounting for the down years and his half-season, Longoria will end 2016 having averaged over five WAR per year in his nine-year career.

In other words, Longoria is still quite valuable, which makes it interesting when his name is linked to the Dodgers in trade rumors, as Jon Morosi at speculated last week, though in a very loose sense.

I mean, honestly, this is more guesswork given how Morosi presented it:

Based on information from sources over the past several days, I believe there's a low probability of the Dodgers acquiring Longoria before the Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

But we can't rule out the possibility of Longoria returning to his native Southern California -- perhaps as early as this offseason.

Longoria signed two well-below-market contracts with current Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman in Tampa Bay, and the second one kicks in starting in 2017. Longoria, who turns 31 in October, is under contract for at least six more years with $99 million guaranteed, per Cot's Contracts, plus a club option for 2023.

As always, it's impossible to evaluate a deal without knowing what else is involved, but it does make sense that the Dodgers would at least be interested in adding Longoria, especially with Justin Turner a free agent at the end of the year.

As Morosi noted, such a deal would make more sense in the offseason, which seems more true now, with Turner one of the most productive hitters in baseball over the last six or seven weeks.

The deal seems like a long shot, though given the reported level of interest in various Tampa Bay pitchers it is kind of fun to speculate on what a megadeal between the Dodgers and Rays might look like.

So if you want to see Longoria play at Dodger Stadium, your best bet is probably Tuesday and Wednesday, and not necessarily anything beyond that.