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Tampa Bay Rays extend Evan Longoria until 2023

Most of the moves the Rays make tend to surprise many, but today's extension of Longoria likely surprised everyone who follows the team, or the sport, for that matter. On Cyber Monday, the Rays retain their franchise player for a bargain price.

Go crazy, Rays fans
Go crazy, Rays fans
J. Meric

Per team press release:

The Tampa Bay Rays and Evan Longoria have agreed on a contract extension that could keep the All-Star third baseman in a Rays uniform through the 2023 season. Longoria’s new contract incorporates the salaries for 2013 through 2016 from his original contract and extends six more years through 2022 for an additional $100 million. The deal also includes a club option for 2023.

"We drafted Evan in 2006 with the belief that he and the organization would grow with each other and together accomplish great things," said Rays Principal Owner Stuart Sternberg. "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."

"Evan has all of the attributes we seek in a player," said Rays Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman. "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."

The 27-year-old is a three-time American League All-Star, two-time Rawlings AL Gold Glove winner at third base and was the 2008 AL Rookie of the Year. After five major league seasons he already ranks second on the Rays all-time list with 130 home runs, third with 456 RBI and fourth with 161 doubles. Longoria is one of 11 active players to average at least 25 HR and 90 RBI over his first five seasons. In 2012, Longoria was limited to 74 games due to a partially torn left hamstring which he suffered on April 30. Despite missing more than half of the season, he hit .289 (79-for-273) with 17 home runs, 55 RBI, a .369 on-base percentage and .527 slugging percentage. He batted .358 (24-for-67) with runners in scoring position. The Rays were 41-44 during Longoria’s absence, but went 47-27 (.635) with him in the starting lineup.

The Rays scored nearly a run more per game during his time on the active roster (4.8 to 3.9). After being reinstated from the DL on August 7, Longoria started 51 of the team’s remaining 54 games (26 at third base, 25 at designated hitter). In September and October, he hit .296 (32-for-108) with eight home runs—five of which gave the Rays the lead—and slugged three home runs in the regular-season finale, October 3 vs. the Baltimore Orioles.

The Rays selected Longoria as the third overall pick in the 2006 June Draft, making him the first player drafted under Sternberg and Friedman. On April 18, 2008, only six games into his major league career, the Rays signed him to a multi-year contract worth a guaranteed $17.5 million over six years and potentially $44 million over nine seasons, including the club options for 2014 through 2016. Longoria underwent a minor procedure on his left hamstring on Tuesday, November 20, and is expected to be fully recovered for spring training.


Ed note: According to Fangraphs, Longoria has produced $128M of value in his time with the Rays so far and now they have him under control until 2022. If you combine this extension with what is left on his current deal, he just signed a 10-year deal for $136M. The lingering question now: does the team have enough money to show the same commitment to its franchise pitcher?

Rays fans have longed for the team to show a long term commitment to its stars - and now they have. Hopefully, fans can reciprocate in kind at the turnstiles in 2013 as the economy improves.