Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rays extra

Rays' deal with Longoria is proactive, not premature

What were the Rays thinking in signing Evan Longoria to a long-term deal before he played his seventh game in the big leagues?

Just about the future of the franchise.

The deal, which guarantees Longoria $17.5-million over six years and could be worth $44.5-million over nine, is definitely a gamble.

But it's one the Rays felt good about.

And that they had to take.

Just like their unconventional seven-year deal with James Shields, and with previous long-term commitments to retain top young players, they see it as a way — really, the only way — to remain competitive in the high-finance American League East.

"We're always going to have to manage our roster years and years in advance to be able to compete in this division," executive VP Andrew Friedman said. "It's the way the economics of the game are right now, and it's something that instead of feeling sorry for ourselves we've got to be proactive and do anything and everything we can to succeed."

In this case, they are confident Longoria — barring injury, of course — is a talented enough player, and a good enough person, to make the investment well worth it.

And the sooner they could sign him up, the better the deal they'd get.

Maybe the Rays would have been wise to wait to see how Longoria played for two seasons, or his first one (or his first month). To see if he indeed is the two-way star they project, if his power will translate to middle-of-the-order presence, if he can handle the rigors of major-league life (and potential pitfalls of the lifestyle).

But there were downsides to waiting. With success, Longoria's price could go up. And with time, he might be less enthused — for any number of reasons — about committing long-term. (For example, some think Scott Kazmir might be reluctant to sign long-term because he sees free agency coming after 2010).

So when the Rays approached agent Paul Cohen in early March and he indicated Longoria was willing, they moved quickly to — insert team credo here — be opportunistic and see what kind of deal they could strike.

So how did they do?

Although Cohen makes a strong case for how well Longoria did, with the chance to make nearly $45-million and be a free agent at age 31, there was buzz around the game that the Rays made the better deal, getting cost certainty for Longoria's three (or, more likely, four) seasons of arbitration eligibility, and the options to keep him through his first two seasons of free agency. Plus, in the potential last year of the deal, 2016, he'd be making $11.5-million — less than 50 players make this season.

"I give the Rays a lot of credit because they did what's hard to do anymore, which is make a heck of a business deal; they controlled their costs and extended their control," said Alan Nero, a prominent agent who represents several Rays and manager Joe Maddon. "I'm happy for Longoria if it's what he wants, but I'm a little disappointed that a player with seven days (in the majors) would give away his future like that."

The deal also seems to validate what the Rays said in the spring, that Longoria's eligibility for arbitration and free agency weren't primary factors in the decision to send him back to the minors. And they said Longoria didn't have to agree to the deal to get called up. "We were bifurcating the two, him playing in the major leagues vs. his contract," Friedman said.

Plus, there's a message this type of deal sends to other teams, that they Rays are no longer their farm system, as well as to their other young players, in the minors and the majors.

"It's not just rhetoric," Friedman said. "We are committed to keeping our young players in place and signing them to long-term contracts. It's a good, positive message for them to know that it's possible."

Rays rumblings

How does Evan Longoria's contract affect B.J. Upton's view of a potential long-term deal? "It doesn't," Upton said. … ESPN.com's latest power rankings have the Rays 20th, ahead of Cleveland and Detroit. … Former longtime Ray Toby Hall on the new uniforms and Trop paint job: "It's awesome. It all looks great." … The "more professional" aspect of the Trop's new ingame entertainment program must be being phased in. … Friday morning's advisory of a 1 p.m. "major announcement" drew calls asking if the Rays were signing Barry Bonds, including one from a curious MLB official. … Ex-Ray Shawn Camp, having added a changeup, got called up by Toronto and should be in the Jays bullpen at Disney.
Got a minute? | Evan Longoria

Best meal you make? I cook steak well. I like to barbecue steak, so I'd have to say steak and mashed potatoes.

Must-see TV? The only TV show that I've ever been into is Dexter, on Showtime.

Guilty pleasure at the mall? Shoes. I've got to buy shoes. Any kind. I love shoes. I've probably got at least 25 pairs.

First car? An '88 white Toyota Corolla, and that was in 2001.

Dream date? I'd have to say Jessica Biel. She's probably my favorite — right now.

Rays' deal with Longoria is proactive, not premature 04/19/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 22, 2008 9:36am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Nature Coast puts unbeaten streak on the line vs. IMG White

    Footballpreps

    BROOKSVILLE — Nature Coast currently rides a 22-game regular-season win streak, but first-year football coach Cory Johns was not around for any of those wins. Neither was most of his coaching staff. This is an entirely new campaign with new obstacles ahead.

    Nature Coast offensive lineman Louis Miele (66) blocks a Sunlake defensive player during the Clash 4 Clayton football scrimmage and fundraiser at Springstead High School Spring Hill, Fla. on Saturday, August 12, 2017.
  2. Crosstown rivals Bloomingdale-Newsome kick off season

    Footballpreps

    LITHIA — In a week filled with area football rivalries, there is a game on the east side of Hillsborough County — Bloomingdale vs. Newsome — that has matured into a classic crosstown battle, complete with classic cliches.

    Bloomingdale wide receiver Ed Amos charges through a drill a few days before the big rivalry game against Newsome on Friday night.
  3. Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast: Several key players still sidelined

    Bucs

    Greg Auman gives an injury update, with several key players still sidelined from practice three days before the Bucs play the Cleveland Browns in Tampa, and a full recap of your favorite scenes from Tuesday …

    Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans was held out of practice Wednesday at One Buc Place. [CHARLIE KAIJO | Times]
  4. Playoff ambitions evident in opener for Zephyrhills, Wiregrass Ranch

    Footballpreps

    WESLEY CHAPEL — A new football season in Pasco County begins Friday night, but this one promises to be like none before it — with more math than ever. A new playoff system emphasizes schedule strength, making non-district tilts particularly important.

    Wiregrass Ranch wide receiver Jordan Miner catches a pass in spring practice at Wiregrass Ranch High School in Wesley Chapel on Monday, May 1, 2017.
  5. Dirk Koetter says Bucs used team meeting to discuss social issues

    Bucs

    During a 20-minute team meeting Tuesday, Bucs coach Dirk Koetter decided to turn the discussion to social issues and whether players are expected to stand for the national anthem.

    "The main thing is we have to respect everybody's opinion," Dirk Koetter said, "because everybody is not going to agree." [AP photo]