The Rays have locked up third baseman Evan Longoria through the 2022 season. It’s still sounds weird to think that far in the future but that is precisely what the Rays are doing. After undergoing minor hamstring surgery last week, Longoria made it clear that he would be ready to go for Spring Training. Longoria stated,
“There’s no doubt that I’d be able to recover, and be at 100%”
Longoria was already under club control through the 2016 season. His 6 year, $17.5 million contract carried him through 2013. The Rays then had three years of club options to follow. So, was this a good deal for that Rays to fork over significantly more cash now when they could have stood still for another four seasons? Let’s look at some numbers…
The extension gives Longoria $100 million from 2016 – 2022 ($16.67 million per season). Let’s look at some other third baseman and their current contracts.
1) Alex Rodriguez – $114 milion over the next five years
2) Miguel Cabrera – $65 milion over the next three years
3) Adrian Beltre – $51 million over the next three years
4) David Wright – $16 million next season (rejected a six year $100 million extension)
5) Hanley Ramirez – $31.5 million over the next two seasons
6) Ryan Zimmerman – $102 million over the next seven years
Looking at these numbers it sure seems as thought the Rays got a good deal. You have to ask yourself, is Evan Longoria a top five third baseman in Major League Baseball? If you think he is, as most people do, this deal is worth it for the Rays, at the moment! Now, here’s where one may choose the opposite side; can he stay healthy?
Cabrera, Beltre, and Wright have all proven to be durable during their careers. Take a look at these numbers, proving their durability…
Cabrera: Since 2004 he has never played fewer than 150 games in any one season. He has missed just 33 games over that nine year span.
Beltre: Over the last 11 seasons, Beltre has totaled at least 124 games played in all but one of them.
Wright: In his eight full seasons in the majors, he has averaged 149 games per season. Plus he is looked at as one of the best defensive third baseman in the league.
The above players are older than Evan Longoria and are consistently putting in 145 plus games per season. Longoria, entering his age-27 season, is already struggling to stay on the field. He totaled just 207 games from 2011-2012.
So, who wins this deal? The short answer is; we don’t know! If Longoria can return to the 150 games per season plateau, as he did in 2009 and 2010, the Rays win. There is also the thought that if he does return to form, the Rays may trade him while his stock is up.