SBD/November 27, 2012/Franchises

Small-Market Rays Gamble With $100M Extension For Evan Longoria

Longoria's six-year extension with the Rays will come to an end in '23
The Rays' commitment to 3B Evan Longoria is “substantial and significant for the Rays, who typically operate with one of Major League Baseball's smallest payrolls and finish at or near the bottom in attendance," according to Marc Topkin of the TAMPA BAY TIMES. They also have “yet to see any real progress in their much-debated quest for a new stadium before their Tropicana Field agreement expires after the 2027 season.” Though they will be “buoyed in future years by MLB's enriched national TV contracts and a potentially lucrative new local deal,” Rays Owner Stuart Sternberg said the increases alone do not offset "an astoundingly big commitment." The six-year, $100M contract extension to Longoria is set to end in ’23. Sternberg acknowledged that the Rays will “have to make choices on which other players to sign.” That is where the “hope to be in a new stadium comes in, with the accompanying increased revenue.” Sternberg said, "If by the end of this contract we're not, it's not going to work out well" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 11/27). In Tampa, Tom Jones asks, "Unless the Rays can find greater revenue streams (read: a new ballpark with increased attendance), how can they afford to pay Longoria and, say, Cy Young winner David Price and still have any money left to fill out a major-league roster?” The Rays are “sticking their necks out for one (oft-injured) player,” but this is “how the small-market Rays must do business.” They have to “gamble that Longoria will stay healthy,” and they have to “gamble that Longoria's next 10 years will be as good as or even better than the past five” (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 11/27).
 
GETTING ANXIOUS: CSNNE.com’s Sean McAdam noted Red Sox fans are “getting antsy” in the aftermath of the Blue Jays-Marlins trade two weeks ago, and the Tigers’ signing of RF Torii Hunter “generated more angst.” It is “not even December and already people seem overly anxious about what the Red Sox are going to look like in April.” It is “unlikely the Red Sox are going to make one of those big bold strokes this winter.” Nor should the team “be expected to pull off a giant trade.” The last time the Red Sox were “bold and made big moves was after the 2010 season, when they ‘won the winter’ by signing [Carl] Crawford and trading for [Adrian] Gonzalez -- two players they couldn't wait to unload less than 20 months later” (CSNNE.com, 11/26).
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