When the wisdom of locking up young players with long-term deals years before they even hit arbitration is discussed, Evan Longoria is often Exhibit A. Just a week into his major league career in 2008, the Rays’ third baseman — who had come into the year ranked as the number two prospect according to Baseball America — inked a six-year, $17.5 million deal. Not only has that turned out to be an incredible bargain for Tampa Bay, but even with an escalator clause and three club options tacked on for 2014-2016, the nine-year package still cost an extremely reasonable $45 million, making it the most team-friendly contract in the game. Now the Rays have more than doubled down, signing Longoria to a six-year, $100 million extension that runs from 2017-2022, his age 36 season — with a club option for 2023, just in case.
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