AP File Photo
Tampa Bay slugger Evan Longoria follows through on a hit against the Texas Rangers during a game last season in Arlington, Texas.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Evan Longoria wants to be with the Tampa Bay Rays for his entire major league career.
The slugging third baseman agreed Monday to a 10-year contract that adds six guaranteed seasons and $100 million.
“I always wanted to be kind of a benchmark player ... the guy that you could think about or associate with the organization,” Longoria said. “My goal from Day One was to be the first player that played their whole career here, to be the first guy that came into the organization and went out in the organization, and played all the years in between. There’s no better place for me.”
The agreement with the three-time All-Star incorporates the remainder of the 27-year-old’s existing contract, which called for him to earn $36.6 million over the next four seasons. The new deal includes a team option for 2023.
“It’s a very exciting day for us,” Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg said. “For Evan to have the confidence in us, and I know the confidence that we have in him, to re-up so to speak for the long haul. This is just an enormous commitment for us.”
Longoria said a no-trade provision is not included in the deal, although after 2017 he would have a right to block trades as a 10-year veteran who spent his last five years with the same team.
Just six games into his major league career, Longoria agreed in April 2008 to a $17.5 million, six-year contract that included club options potentially making the deal worth $44 million over nine seasons.
“The significance of this is not lost on anybody,” Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said. “We’re extending that commitment now.”
Longoria became just the seventh player with a contract guaranteed through 2020. Milwaukee outfielder Ryan Braun, Detroit first baseman Prince Fielder, Chicago Cubs outfielder Jorge Soler and Colorado shortstop Troy Tulowitzki have deals covering the next eight years, with Los Angeles Angels first baseman Albert Pujols’ contract running through 2021 and Cincinnati first baseman Joey Votto’s through 2023.
Tampa Bay selected Longoria as the third overall pick in the 2006 amateur draft, making him the first player drafted under Sternberg and Friedman.
Longoria played in just 74 games in 2012 because of a partially torn left hamstring. He underwent a minor surgical cleanup procedure on the hamstring Nov. 20 and is expected to be ready for spring training.
“With the time that we had now, there’s no doubt that I’d be able to recover and be at 100 percent or close to it by (the start of) spring training,” Longoria said.
Longoria will rehab the leg during the winter and will not participate in next year’s World Baseball Classic.
Tampa Bay was 41-44 during Longoria’s absence, and 47-27 with him in the starting lineup.
The two-time AL Gold Glove winner and 2008 AL Rookie of the Year ranks second on the Rays career list with 130 home runs, third with 456 RBIs and fourth with 161 doubles. Longoria is one of 11 active players to average at least 25 homers and 90 RBIs during his first five seasons.
Longoria will donate more than $1 million during the contract to the Rays Baseball Foundation, the team’s charitable foundation.
Sternberg said this deal does not rule out the possibility of signing other Tampa Bay players to mulityear contracts, such as AL Cy Young Award winner David Price. The Rays were at the bottom of the big leagues in home attendance this year.
“One of the challenges we’ll have is figuring out how to take the next step for our organization,” Sternberg said.
Tampa Bay and Longoria had brief, preliminary contract talks before the season began and resumed discussions after the season ended.
“We kind of tried to find a middle ground to where we would able to do some things to be able to afford some players to put ourselves in a position to win every year,” Longoria said. “And I told them from the beginning that I didn’t want to be the one sucking up all the payroll so we can’t afford anybody else.”MORE IN Sports WireGLENDALE, Ariz. — Jen Welter’s groundbreaking days as an interim NFL coach are nearing an end. Full Story
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