ST. PETERSBURG — Ever proactive, the Tampa Bay Rays agreed Monday with Evan Longoria on a contract extension that could keep the All-Star third baseman in a Rays uniform through the 2023 season.
Longoria’s new contract incorporates the salaries for 2013-16 from his original contract and extends six more years through 2022 for an additional $100 million. The deal includes a club option for 2023.
“We drafted Evan in 2006 with the belief that he and the organization would grow with each other and together accomplish great things,” Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg said. “That is why the Rays and Evan signed a long-term contract in 2008, and it is why we are extending our commitments today. Evan has clearly become a cornerstone player and a fixture in our organization. We are proud of what we have accomplished these past seven years, and I expect the best is yet to come.”
The 27-year-old Longoria is a three-time American League All-Star, two-time Rawlings AL Gold Glove winner at third base and was the 2008 AL Rookie of the Year. After five Major League seasons, he already ranks second on the Rays’ all-time 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 home runs and 90 RBIs over his first five seasons.
“Evan has all of the attributes we seek in a player,” Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said. “His determination and work ethic inspire others around him. He is devoted to his craft and strives to improve himself every year, and he defines success in terms of team performance and achievement. It’s exciting to know that Evan will be manning third base for the Rays for many years to come.”
In 2012, Longoria was limited to 74 games due to a partially torn left hamstring which he suffered on April 30. Despite missing more than half of the season, he hit .289 with 17 home runs, 55 RBIs, a .369 on-base percentage and .527 slugging percentage. He batted .358 with runners in scoring position. The Rays were 41-44 during Longoria’s absence, but went 47-27 with him in the starting lineup. The Rays scored nearly a run more per game during his time on the active roster (4.8 to 3.9)
After being reinstated from the disabled list on Aug. 7, Longoria started 51 of the team’s remaining 54 games (26 at third base, 25 at designated hitter). In September and October, he hit .296 with eight home runs — five of which gave the Rays a lead — and slugged three home runs in the regular-season finale Oct. 3 vs. the Baltimore Orioles.
The Rays selected Longoria with the third overall pick in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft, making him the first player drafted under Sternberg and Friedman. On April 18, 2008, only six games into his Major League career, the Rays signed him to a multiyear contract worth a guaranteed $17.5 million over six years and potentially $44 million over nine seasons, including the club options for 2014 through 2016.
Longoria underwent a minor procedure on his left hamstring on Tuesday and is expected to be fully recovered for Spring Training.