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Evan Longoria signs six-year, $100 million extension with Rays

Nov 26, 2012, 10:01 AM EDT

Evan Longoria AP

Evan Longoria was already under the Rays’ control through 2016 thanks to a long-term contract he signed literally one week after his big-league debut in 2008, but today the two sides agreed to a six-year, $100 million extension that runs through 2022.

By combining the remainder of his previous contract and the $100 million extension Longoria will now be paid $136 million for the next 10 seasons. Tampa Bay also holds an option for 2023, potentially keeping him under contract through age 37. In other words, this is essentially a career-long commitment.

Tampa Bay made a very bold, unique move signing Longoria to a long-term deal days into his MLB career and this is another aggressive, interesting decision. Clearly the penny-pinching Rays couldn’t compete for a player like Longoria on the open market, but by taking on the considerable risk of a decade-long commitment to a player they already controlled for another four years they will be in line to get a significant discount if he stays healthy and productive into his 30s.

Of course, injuries have been a major issue for Longoria. He missed 88 games this year with a torn hamstring and was out for 28 games in 2011, but his production has never waned. Longoria hit .289 with 17 homers and an .896 OPS in 2012 and the No. 3 overall pick in the 2006 draft has an .877 career OPS that ranks third among all active third basemen behind only Alex Rodriguez and David Wright (and the retiring Chipper Jones).

  1. vallewho - Nov 26, 2012 at 10:10 AM

    that’s a big IF

  2. samu0034 - Nov 26, 2012 at 10:11 AM

    I like this move by the Rays, and wish that more small market teams would try things like this. But that said, I think it takes a special situation for a player and management to be so in sync that management is willing to commit and the player is willing to be underpaid. I’d love it if the Twins had worked something like this out with Joe Mauer for example. There’s not a lot of downside to the Rays method, sure Longoria doesn’t scream “I’m going to age well”, but a contract like this isn’t big enough to be an albatross around their necks if he can’t produce. And honestly, if Longoria really falls of a cliff production-wise, that he would sign a deal like this suggests to me that he’s the kind of guy who’d retire rather than bring the team down with him (Gil Meche style).

    • gibbyfan - Nov 26, 2012 at 9:22 PM

      Great move by great management. Wish the Cards had taken this path with pujols when they still had te leverage of a couple years on his contract…………Go Rays

  3. yankeepunk3000 - Nov 26, 2012 at 10:26 AM

    the rays are about one of my favorite teams…the way they play the game is amazing and the way they handle their players is even better…sure its a long deal but its not an insane contract, where they can’t trade him off at some point if he starts to slow down…but I doubt he will…when healthy this guy is a monster and hopefully he can be their anchor for another decade. Come on rays fans go support your team so they can spend a little more money. these guys do the BEST job at scouting and trading…with some cash they can really dominate. this Yankee fan wouldn’t mind that one bit.

  4. Gardenhire's Cat - Nov 26, 2012 at 10:26 AM

    Alex Rodriguez has a .945 career OPS.

  5. southofheaven81 - Nov 26, 2012 at 10:30 AM

    “Dear Other Florida Team: We care about our fans. Here’s proof. Fuck you. Sincerely, the Rays.”

    • indaburg - Nov 26, 2012 at 10:33 AM

      P.S. Could you give us your shiny, new stadium?

      • Old Gator - Nov 26, 2012 at 10:44 AM

        Heh – sure. Could you take our ownership off our hands with it and send us yours?

        What? You love that gunite tumulus you play in after all? Who’d’a guessed…..

      • indaburg - Nov 26, 2012 at 10:51 AM

        Hmmm. Loria and brand new Marlins’ Park, or Sternberg and Tropicana Field? You got me, OG. All of a sudden, the oversized warehouse sounds like Shangri-La.

    • pinkfloydprism - Nov 26, 2012 at 1:02 PM

      The same fans that did not buy tickets for a division clinching game? It is great to care about fans…but only when they care back.

      • Old Gator - Nov 26, 2012 at 1:34 PM

        It’s also great to know that when you’re a relatively new franchise stuck in an ugly concrete Morlock dome in an out of the way margin of your market that it takes time, patience, perseverance and respect for your fans to cultivate and build your fan base – something that the three different groups of parasitic cretins who have at one time or another run that other Florida franchise have yet to figure out.

  6. indaburg - Nov 26, 2012 at 10:31 AM

    This is a great, bold move by the Rays. Of course, it’s a gamble (Memo to Longo: you are not a base stealer. Save your hammies.) but basically anything worth having is. I love the idea of the Rays having a franchise player, a face for the franchise a la Jeter and the Yankees, Mauer and the Twins and so on. It’s not only a long term commitment to Longo. It’s a long term commitment to the fans too.

    • stex52 - Nov 26, 2012 at 11:02 AM

      It’s a reflection on the player, too. So many of the players have started using size of the contract as the measure of being the best (a la Pujols). It is refreshing to see Longoria say, ” Hey, I’m set for life. My grandkids’ trust funds will be loaded up. I don’t need any more and I’m happy here.” I wish we saw more of it.

      • indaburg - Nov 26, 2012 at 11:14 AM

        Very true, stex. I always liked Longoria as a player, but I like him even more today as a person because of what you just wrote. I guess he’s gonna stay… just a little bit long-uh…

    • APBA Guy - Nov 26, 2012 at 12:37 PM

      Cool move by the Rays, who seem to be a notch above the A’s front office when dealing with the “realities” of their financial and stadium situation. Whereas the A’s traded away Carlos Gonzalez, the Rays kept Evan, and will keep him as long as he’s productive.

      • badintent - Nov 27, 2012 at 12:53 AM

        For the dummys that said Florida teams don’t pay, don’t get mad, just go away.
        Please don’t tell me it would have been $200 million in LA or NY, not in the mix.

  7. raysfan1 - Nov 26, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    I think this is an outstanding move. Sure injuries happen, and nobody can predict with certainty how someone’s production will be that far into the future. However, this guy has been the face of the Rays for several years, and is extremely popular both because he is an excellent player and because he has an outlook/attitude we wish all players would emulate. Longoria could have made far more money going through arbitration and free agency, but has made it clear he wants to stay a Ray.

  8. darthicarus - Nov 26, 2012 at 10:53 AM

    The Marlins are trying to do this as well with Stanton, but he’s hesitant to sign as Loria has it written up on an Etch-A-Sketch and he prefaced the interview by saying “trust me”.

    • Old Gator - Nov 26, 2012 at 1:36 PM

      It’s going to be a couple of years before the Iron Giant puts Scrooge McLoria and the Chihuahua in a position where they’ll need to try and sign him at all, if they even bother. He’ll be shipped out with a ribbon and a bow tied around him before too much more time passes.

  9. xmatt0926x - Nov 26, 2012 at 11:00 AM

    It also becomes a reasonable contract for the teams that will be trying to trade for him in a few years. Not that there’s a chance of that happening……

  10. mudhead123 - Nov 26, 2012 at 11:18 AM

    Will this increase their attendance? Hahahaha

  11. slartibartfast4242 - Nov 26, 2012 at 11:44 AM

    This is a great move for both sides. Longoria is obviously happy where he is and the Rays, with all their financial constraints get to keep him for a below market deal. Up till now when I think about the Rays, the first thing that comes to mind is that awful stadium Tropicana field; with this deal maybe in the future Evan Longoria will come to mind when I think of the Rays.

  12. montethecolorman - Nov 26, 2012 at 12:04 PM

    This has got to be the best Cyber Monday deal around.

  13. Chris Fiorentino - Nov 26, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    OK, let me see if I understand this deal…

    Longoria, who is now 27 years old and missed 116 games the last two years, was locked up by the team for another 4 full years(2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016)…basically through his 31st birthday. He was given an additional 6 year/$100 million dollar extension for his 32-37 seasons at $16.67 million a year.

    The Tampa Bay Rays payroll average the last 5 years has been around $60 million…it fluctuates, but I’ll even give them a payroll of $66 million a year starting in Longoria’s 32nd year, which is when this extension will start.

    So Evan Longoria will be making 25% of the Tamp Bay Ray’s payroll when this extension starts. A guy coming off two injury-filled years. A guy who has played a total of 637 games. And everybody is in a lather about how great this contract extension is and about how the Rays are the best and about how this is genius on their part.

    Again…a guy who just missed 88 games…a guy who missed 28 games two years ago…a guy who was locked up another 4 years. Great player? Absolutely. Worth 25% of the payroll? You tell me.

    On the other hand, Ryan Howard was signed to what has been widely renounced as the single worst contract extension in the history of mankind…a contract that when it was signed, he had missed a TOTAL of 45 games in his career…he was 30 years old and the contract would begin in his 32nd year season. Oh, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, a contract that will pay him less than 15% of the team’s payroll.

    So when Longoria’s extension begins in 4 years, he will also be 32. It’s a genius move to commit 25% of your payroll to a 32 year old player 4 years down the road when any number of things could happen between now and then, but it is the single worst contract in the history of mankind to commit less than 15% of your teams payroll for a guy with better #’s up to that point and who was less than half as injury-prone as the other guy?

    The hypocrisy displayed in this situation really amazes me.

    • cur68 - Nov 26, 2012 at 12:41 PM

      There you go stomping around on the narrative, Chris. Nevertheless, I too think this is a bit much for a guy with his injury history. In fact, a friend of mine likes to say that having Longoria on your roster is like owning an MGB Roadster. If you want to enjoy the car (and its a great car. When its running), you really need 2 of them so you keep the other for parts to keep the first one going.

      I hope that contract stipulates that he can be a hitting coach or some such when some critical part of him gives up. Still, I sure hope he can stay healthy for the length of the thing. Baseball’s a lot more fun to watch with him playing.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Nov 26, 2012 at 12:52 PM

        “Baseball’s a lot more fun to watch with him playing.”

        See cur, and that’s where the problem lies with the Ryan Howard contract. It was panned because Howard represents the old-stat people…HR’s…and those ugly worthless RBI’s. When he had 4 historic seasons of power his first 4 years, and was top-5 in the MVP voting his first 4 seasons after winning the ROY, it burned up HBT heroes like Keith Law. Guys who have tunnel vision and don’t look at more important big picture things like % of a team’s payroll. See, anybody with half a brain would say this is an outrageously terrible deal for the Rays because they just extended an injury-prone 27 year old for 6 years starting with his age 32 season, at 25% of their payroll!!! And nobody bats an eye. Why? Because his “WAR” is 28 while Howard’s was 16. And we know that WAR is all that matters, right? The Rays gambled on an injury-prone 27 year old’s 32-37 season with 25% of their team payroll. I hope it works out. I like Longoria. He seems like a great guy. But all this positive reaction to his contract extension is blatantly hypocritical in my eyes.

      • cur68 - Nov 26, 2012 at 2:25 PM

        Yeah, I don’t pay any attention to Keith Law: I’m sure he’s a nice man and a all but I think there’s too much “group think” that occurs around people of that stature. I can’t be bothered being the lone voice saying “you might be wrong, brah”. I get enough of that at work.

        As for Howard’s contract, I think we give it another 2 years before making any definitive statement about it. Too many times people go way out there and make some prediction as though its iron clad. About the only thing with any degree of surety about this situation is that betting on a guy with power to have power right into early middle age is actually a pretty safe bet. No one’s paying Howard to be speedy, or have elite OF defence. They want him to hit in critical situations. And, when not injured, he does that. Given that it was not like he’d been injured a lot, which you rightly point out, I think there was a good enough chance of him hanging in there with above average production long enough to make it worth it for the Phillies to have paid him what they paid him. Now, if he fully recovers from his achilles tear, and it looks good so far, I can see him getting right back on track to give the Phills value for money on that deal. Now, if we factor that the whole “TV Contract leaves more dollars for all teams” narrative into this argument I don’t see why things don’t actually break well in the Phillies favour here.

    • stex52 - Nov 26, 2012 at 12:50 PM

      Are you sure you are criticizing any of the people who were all over the Howard deal? I know I wasn’t one. Besides, a lot of the people here are talking up Longoria’s attitude, not what the team did. I’m a little unsure how it will work for them myself. But I also think team budgets and the price for average-to-good players are going to be a lot higher than you project in five or six years. MLB is likely to be swimming in money soon, and Longoria could well turn out to be a good deal.

      But be a little easy with the whole “hypocrisy” thing.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Nov 26, 2012 at 12:59 PM

        You say things like “I THINK team budgets are going to be a lot higher” and “MLB is LIKELY swimming in money soon” and “Longoria COULD WELL turn out to be a good deal”

        If you weren’t on the list of people who panned the Howard extension, then my comments about that didn’t refer to you. However, remember that when the Phillies signed Howard their budget WAS going to be a lot higher and they WERE swimming in money AT THAT TIME. So the people who panned the deal based it on their hate for Howard’s big stats, like HRs and RBIs…and Craig even told me he didn’t like the MVP votes Howard always got for crushing the league in HRs and RBIs during his first 4 seasons.

      • kruegere - Nov 26, 2012 at 1:20 PM

        All he needs to do is have a few more productive years and he’s earned both contracts. You forget what a good deal his first one was and how much he over-produced the money.

    • indaburg - Nov 26, 2012 at 1:46 PM

      Your numbers are based on some probable faulty assumption namely, that the Rays will only spend $66 million in five years. First, all of major league baseball is feeling flush with money right about now, thanks to the influx of television revenue. The Rays, as other teams, could be looking at $50 million per year on that alone. Another huge income stream will be at the local level. The Rays’ tv contract is set to expire in 2016. The Rays currently have one of the least favorable tv contracts thanks to prior ownership. Currently, the Rays get only $20 million per year for their local broadcasts. The new contract could be worth approximately $150 million per year thanks to very strong television ratings (fans in the stands aside, this is where the real money is). As shrewd negotiators, I’m sure Sternberg et al are already hard at work on this baby.

      The one caveat emptor is of course, the injury factor. But as you saw with Howard, having spent few days on the DL is no predictor that a player won’t get hurt. Hopefully, Longoria is now convinced that base stealing is not his money maker.

      Your post mostly sounds to me like stereotypical Phillies fan persecution complex and sour grapes.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Nov 26, 2012 at 2:04 PM

        It may have a touch of Phillies fan persecution complex…mostly Howard persecution because I think the guy gets a raw deal. But it’s not sour grapes…I like Longoria and I am happy for the guy. Him taking this deal is EVERYTHING I am for with baseball as it is the antithesis to what Scott Bor-ass does.

        However, even if the Rays start spending $100 million a year, $16.7 million is still a higher % of their payroll than the Phillies spent with Howard. And all I am pointing out is that Howard’s contract extension was called “the worst of its kind” by people like Keith Law. And he had only missed a total of 45 games over 6 seasons, whereas Longoria just missed 88 last year alone.

        Again, I think it is a good contract for Longoria. I think it may end up being good for the Rays. But the outpouring of support for this contract, which let’s be fair, is a far higher risk for the Rays than the contract Howard received, with much less for the Phillies to lose since they spend triple what the Rays spend, is a bit hypocritical wouldn’t you agree?

      • indaburg - Nov 26, 2012 at 2:22 PM

        I agree that some in the national media are being a bit hypocritical. On a personal level, I didn’t have a problem with the Howard deal.

        As a Rays fan, I never see deals with 9 digits in them and we’ve never had a true franchise player, so I’m just a little excited.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Nov 26, 2012 at 2:32 PM

        A guy like Longoria is what I wish every baseball player was like. He took a small deal instead of fighting the team yearly with regards to years before arbitration, arbitration, free agency.

        I’m starting to see some people rip the contract a little bit(still waiting to hear from Keith Law), so that type of balance is good to see. But the initial reaction, both here and on my twitter feed, was that the Rays signed Longoria to the greatest contract ever, and in my eyes, it’s no different than the Howard deal. The Phillies fans love Howard and you Rays fans love Longoria.

      • Reflex - Nov 26, 2012 at 2:59 PM

        1) The value of a player does not change because a franchise has a higher or lower payroll. Virtually every club in the league would jump at the chance to have an elite 3B signed for the deal Longoria recieved, even with his injury history. Several elite 3B’s have routine injuries, Chipper Jones has not played a full season since 2008, and adjusting for inflation has made around the same as what Longoria will be getting when this extension kicks in. As good as Jones is, and he’s a HOFer, Longoria’s ceiling is higher. Also, Longoria plays at a position that is extremely thin, and virtually all the elite 3B’s in the game have injury issues(Zimmerman, A-Rod, etc.

        2) The Rays will do what all smaller market teams do when they commit a large pecentage of payroll to a single player: go cheap elsewhere. The Rays have been very very good at this over the years, and there is little reason to assume they will not continue to do so.

        3) Your upset over Howard mostly because the critics turned out to be completely correct. His body type did not age well(hey, body type is a scouting metric!). He was too old when they extended him. His production was in decline and that decline continued. And at the end of the day, 1B is simply not that difficult of a position to fill. They could have done what the Nats did and had someone like Adam Laroche filling in for a fraction of the price and had no discernable difference(except of course better defense and fewer injuries).

        4) I have no idea why you keep lumping in HR with RBI. Sabermetrics analyists love HR’s. Nobody dissed Howard for his HR’s. They simply did not credit him for his RBI’s. After all, RBI’s are a team dependent stat, and Howard demonstrated no special ability to hit better when runners were in scoring position. So it is reasonable to not consider RBI’s important when valuing a player. Home runs, however, are very valuable. The complaint on Howard really is not that he’s a bad player. Its that he is overrated, and that much of his value comes from his team.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 26, 2012 at 3:05 PM

      The Rays gambled on an injury-prone 27 year old’s 32-37 season with 25% of their team payroll

      Yes, the percent of total payroll is huge; however, with the recent/upcoming TV deals this is less of an issue than before. Unfortunately, it’s not an apples to apples comparison in regards to Howard. Howard was a declining player, in power (ISO), in walk rate (BB%) and is essentially useless against lefties. Longoria has had two injury shortened seasons, but his stats haven’t been affected yet*. As long as Longoria can stay healthy, which is a big if now, he’s still a MVP caliber player. Howard, even if healthy, isn’t even close.

      Also, there was exactly zero reason to give Howard that extension when they did. The Phillies FO said they were worried what he’d get in FA, which means they either overvalued Howard or overvalued the market. Pujols didn’t even get $25M/year like Howard did.

      *note, b/c of age it’s highly likely he has more issues with injuries, but we just don’t know that yet.

  14. deathmonkey41 - Nov 26, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    Man, with all that money, I hope he stops chasing people around like that when he thinks they took his hat. I’m pretty sure he can afford to buy another one.

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