Tampa Bay Agrees to Extension With Longoria
After coming up just short of making the playoffs this last year, the Tampa Bay Rays knew they needed to build a revamped team around the talent they already had and that all starts with securing that talent for a long time to come. They made sure they held on to one of their sluggers by offering him a juicy extension this week.
ESPN is reporting that the Rays have agreed to a six-year contract extension with Evan Longoria that would keep him with the team through the 2022 season with the option for 2023. The new deal is worth an extra $100 million and maintains the current deal through 2016. The organization expressed the importance of keeping Longoria.
“We drafted Evan in 2006 with the belief that he and the organization would grow with each other and together accomplish great things,” Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg said in a statement. “That is why the Rays and Evan signed a long-term contract in 2008, and it is why we are extending our commitments today. Evan has clearly become a cornerstone player and a fixture in our organization. We are proud of what we have accomplished these past seven years, and I expect the best is yet to come.”
Last season the 27 year-old Longoria hit .289 with 17 home runs and 55 RBIs. He ended up only playing in 74 games after partially tearing his hamstring, which he underwent surgery on last week. The team expects him to be fully healthy in time for spring training.
Longoria is a guy any team would want around for a long time. At this point in his career, he’s already won two gold gloves and made the AL All-Star team three times, but is the extension a little too much of a commitment on the part of the Rays?
It has to be a bit concerning for Rays’ fans that he just had surgery, although it was only for a hamstring. The other thing is, by the time he gets to the end of his contract, he’ll be almost 40 and who knows how productive he will be.
In the short term, the deal obviously makes the Rays, if not better, at least a solid contender in the AL East. Expect him to help the Rays battle for that division title again in the next few seasons, but they’ll definitely need some more help to take this thing to the next level. Until the Rays make some bigger free agent moves this offseason, consider the Yankees the heavy favorites to return next season and reclaim the throne as AL East kings.