Longo Plans to Be a Ray for the Long haul

I wasn’t surprised at the fact the Tampa Bay Rays wanted to get their perennial All-Star  candidate Evan Longoria signed for as long as humanly possible. Here is a player who openly wants to be in a Rays uniform until his possible retirement date. That and of itself makes me respect Longo more and more as the years pass.

And the Rays did not have to go about this evolution this season, they could of waited until the Winter of 2014 to possibly go about just this sort of extension, but in it Longoria has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt why he will be here longer than Jeremy Hellickson, Desmond Jennings and even David Price. Longoria is the face of the Rays. He has taken to that mantel since 2008, and every season either you love him or want him to stay longer.

It is kind of amazing that this exceptional Rays financial commitment was made by both parties in an era where your Rays tenure is vastly connected to your upcoming or predicted fiscal numbers. Old # 3 has shown again he can be the defensive master possibly now robbing himself of a few million, but having the solidarity and stability of a possible entire career in one MLB jersey. Sure the timing of this move could have been more towards a future date, but this action fully vests both parties interest in securing a top tier player who is becoming an MLB icon and will be the face of Tampa Bay for many more seasons.

It might seem a bit weird that Longo, who already had a hugely attractive team friendly contract extension he signed not 2 years ago would make such a solid career movement at least until the Rays Club Options were on the horizon. The extension firmly shows where Long’s heart is, and where he wants to play out his career. Even though today’s extension could/will net Longo $136 million through the 2022 MLB slate, this was a personal show by Longoria that he is behind the “Rays Way” and wants to be a keystone of this team yearly battles for the American League East title.

Mixing together the previous extension that still owes Longo about $36 million through 2016, the current contract will net him $100 million from 2017-2022. This deal also negates the Rays Club Options originally on the books for 2014-2016 and might end up being one of the best bargains in baseball if Longoria stays healthy and sees his game mature both on the field and at the plate.

Considering Longoria inked his first Rays extension just 6 contests into his rookie season, the Rays solid defensive and offensive weapon will not see his salary hit the 8-figure mark until 2015 when he will make $11 million and $11.5 million for 2016. The Rays also tagged on a nice Club Option for 2023 just in case Longoria still has his feet underneath him, possibly as a Rays DH at that point in his career. When Longo hit the $11 million mark in 2016, when he will turn 31 on October 7th, about the time of the year the Rays would be trying to get back to the World Series (fingers crossed).

You have to think by that 2022 MLB season Longoria will have secured all or most of the Rays defensive and offensive records, along with the “Graybeard” title that is bestowed upon the longest tenured player in club history. By 2023, Longoria will be around 38 years of age. On paper the contract looks like a no-brainer complete with a signed,sealed and delivered commitment by one of the Rays flagship players. Everyone seems to win in this deal from the Rays front office, to the Rays charity, the Rays Baseball Foundation to kids who are beginning to idolize Longoria for his play and community involvement. This contract looks like a sure fire “win-win” barring anything or anything derailing Longoria.

If all goes according to his plan, Longoria just might get that elusive gift of playing for one team in his entire career. I wish him luck, health and most of all longevity to fulfill that dream. And making some primo bank during the stretch does hurt either. Way to go Longo! 

6 Comments

Provided that he finds a way to minimize injures this news makes me very happy! However, if he keeps getting hurt I’m going to be really upset we sunk so much money into him.

Lilee,
I’m right there with you. Hope the operation Longo had on his hamstrings this offseason helps him not only remain healthy. but helps him prevent a same hammy scenario in 2013.
But with long contracts there has to be some faith, and of all the players on the Rays roster, Longo is the first one I would of made a move like this to secure his services. Still, it is a long time until 2023 and the last point of this contract…anything can happen……even the good stuff like a few World Series rings.

Just Hope he can stay healthy… if he can I know one year he will be able to hit 40 Hr, 130RBI in a year… he has the talent, just needs to stay away from the injury bug, that always seems to hit the rays! Go Rays

It’s nice to have a throwback to the old “stay with one club for your entire career” in the tradition of Tony Gwynn and Robin Yount. Hopefully he will stay productive for the life of the contract.

Joel,
You want to believe that his health will endure and his play willrise during his salary increase, but I guess we will have to wait and see if all the ducks lne up in a row and everything goes as planned. Worst thing about it all is it is either going to be a genius move or a disaster.

Douleaablues,
The way the MLB does business now because of the free agency situation does make it rare for a player to even spend 5-7 years with the same team. This move was a great commitment by the Rays and Longo to try and achieve this rare feat, hopefully it succeeds to the 2023 season without a hitch.
I’m still a bit leary that Longo will be here for the term of the contract, but weirder things have happened.

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