Tampa Bay Rays lock up Evan Longoria to begin a wild offseason

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The Tampa Bay Rays have locked up their franchise player, Evan Longoria, by signing him to a six-year $100 million contract extension.

Longoria, 27, was playing to the tune of a six-year $17 million deal that he signed only six days after reaching the majors. To say the least, the contract was an absolute steal and a new deal was inevitable. The new deal will have Longoria signed to at least 2022 with a club option for 2023.

When healthy, Longoria is one of the best players in baseball. Health will be the big factor deciding if the Rays signed Longoria to another great deal or if this contract will be looked down upon an injury plagued career.

This last season Longoria missed 88 games due to a hamstring injury. The year before that he missed 29 games. The injuries are a concern, but right now this seems like a great deal for the Rays.

In the 74 games Longoria played in 2012, he hit .289/.369/.527 with 17 home runs and 55 RBI.

Just five seasons into his career, Longoria has certainly made a name for himself. He has already won a Rookie of the Year award, been selected to three All-Star games, won two Gold Gloves and won a Silver Slugger.

Longoria has proved to be one of the premier players in baseball with both his glove and bat. In the next few years, expect to see the awards continue to pile up for Longoria, including an MVP.

This deal is huge for the Rays, but Longoria’s signing can just be the start to a wild offseason in Tampa Bay.

Now that the Rays have Longoria locked up, they need to turn their attention to David Price. An extension for the AL Cy Young would give the Rays an even brighter future to be excited about.

Price showed again he is one of the best arms in baseball this season and beat out Justin Verlander for the AL Cy Young.

Big money is in the future for Price, but many people do not see it being with the Rays. Price does not become a free agent until 2016, but he becomes arbitration eligible in 2013. The Rays will be paying big money on a yearly basis through arbitration for Price.

Price, also only 27, has huge trade value right now, but the Rays have plenty of trade pieces that teams can go after instead of Price. Instead of trading Price, the Rays need to try to lock him up at some point too.

The Rays have a total of five openings for position players: DH, first base, an outfielder, a middle-infielder and a catcher. Through free agency or trades, the Rays have some holes to fill.

With a plethora of young talent, the Rays could in play for a big trade.

The Royals’ premier prospect Wil Myers has been a big name linked to the Rays. Between Double-A and Triple-A, Myers hit .314/.387/.600 with 37 home runs. He looks to have the skill set to smash 30 home runs every year in the majors very soon.

Price should not be a candidate for a player like Myers or most other players via trade. The Rays have plenty of other trade candidates with players such as: James Shields, Chris Archer, Jeremy Hellickson, Wade Davis, Jeff Niemann and Alex Cobb.

Locking up Evan Longoria for the future is a huge step for the Rays. Next should be the David Price and then who knows. This offseason could be a wild one for the Rays.

In Other News

* Carlos Ruiz was suspended 25 games for using amphetamine

* The Mets have reportedly offered David Wright a seven-year contract

* Marvin Miller, creator of free agency, died at age 95

* The Angels have agreed with Ryan Madson on a one-year deal

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Categories: Sports

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