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Rays sign Davis to long-term deal, could be worth $35M over 7 years



UPDATE, 3:44: Here is the salary breakdown under Davis' new deal:

2011: $1M
2012: $1.5M
2013: $2.8M
2014: $4.8M
2015 option: $7M
2016 option: $8M
2017 option: $10M
Buyout: $2.5M

DEVELOPING: The Rays have signed RHP Wade Davis to a long-term deal that, with team options, could run for 7 years and be worth more than $35-million.

The first four years, starting with this season, are guaranteed and worth $12.6-million. The team holds options for 2015, 2016 and 2017 – covering Davis’ final year of arbitration eligibility and his first two years of free agency.

Davis said on a conference call he was surprised when the Rays first broached the idea and excited by the opportunity. Also, that it should be a good thing. "I perform better when I relax,'' he said. "It's going to drive me more, push more in a good direction than anything else.''

Rays exec VP Andrew Friedman said they had set a deadline of Opening Day for the talks, and were pleased to get a deal done. He said Davis matched up well with their criteria for doing such deals: "We feel like the three most important qualities to consider something like this are ability, work ethic and character, and that's exactly why we're sitting here.''

Friedman acknowledged the risk with pitchers, but also said the upside makes it worthwhile in terms of keepign their core together and getting the most out of the players who don't have to worry about money.

Davis, 25,  joins James Shields, Evan Longoria and Ben Zobrist as players under long-term contracts. Like the others, he will donate a portion of his contract to the Rays Baseball Foundation.

He was 12-10 with a 4.07 ERA last season, finishing fourth in the AL Rookie of the Year voting.

[Last modified: Saturday, April 30, 2011 12:15am]


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