The Tampa Bay Rays and third baseman Evan Longoria have agreed to a contract extension that will keep the former All-Star with the team through at least the 2022 season, according to Major League Baseball.
MLB (@MLB) November 26, 2012
Longoria’s deal incorporates salaries for 2013 through 2016 from his original pact & extends 6 more years through 2022 for additional $100M.— MLB (@MLB) November 26, 2012
Rays owner Stuart Sternberg and vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman released statements (h/t Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune) expressing their belief in Longoria as a person and baseball player.
"Evan has clearly become a cornerstone player and a fixture in our organization," Sternberg said. "We are proud of what we have accomplished these past seven years, and I expect the best is yet to come."
Friedman had nothing but glowing words for Longoria and why the team made this commitment to him.
His determination and work ethic inspire others around him. He is devoted to his craft and strives to improve himself every year, and he defines success in terms of team performance and achievement. It’s exciting to know that Evan will be manning third base for the Rays for many years to come.
This is easily the biggest contract the Rays have ever given out, which is surprising because the team is usually forced to part with its big-time players after they have six years of service time or their contracts run out.
Despite being one of the most successful franchises on the field, the Rays don't generate a lot of revenue. A running gag on Twitter is to see how many fans actually show up to their home games when they are in the playoff chase.
Longoria has been the best position player for the Rays basically since the day he was called up in 2008 and signed the greatest contract in baseball history for a team. In 2008, the Rays locked him up with a nine-year deal that could max out at $44 million.
Under the terms of this new deal, Longoria will have his contract options from the first deal exercised, which takes him through 2016, at which point the new six-year extension will kick in.
The timing of the deal is interesting, considering that Longoria missed 29 games in 2011 and 88 games in 2012 due to injuries. Plus, the fact that he was already locked up through 2016, which is his age-30 season, makes you wonder why the Rays did this now.
Regardless of the why, Longoria's future is set, and the Rays have their cornerstone player in town for a very long time.