The Tampa Bay Rays played The Texas Rangers on October 4, 2011. The Rays ended their AL wild-card streak, losing 4-3.
The Tampa Bay Rays play the Texas Rangers for Game 2 in Texas! Final score: 6-8 (Texas)
The Rays beat the New York Yankees to clinch a playoff spot in the 2011 playoffs!
by Steve Carney
So the Rays have locked up the face of their franchise, Evan Longoria, through the 2022 season. Besides the obvious fact that the third baseman will never have to worry about picking up a restaurant tab again, there are other effects this new deal appears to bring.
This ownership group is committed to its stars, and keeping them: Longoria was the first draft pick in principal owner Stu Sternberg's tenure. The other stars who have left via free agency (Crawford, Upton et al) were all from the regime of previous owner Vince Namoli. This may not bode well for James Shields or Jeff Niemann, who were also drafted in the Naimoli / LaMar administration, but players like David Price and Desmond Jennings could be around longer because of it.
Dawn may be on the horizon on a stadium / TV deal: Signing Longoria to such a lucrative deal is a sign that better days financially are ahead for this franchise. First, the latest extension is set to start in 2017, which coincidentally, would also be the first year of the team's next television deal. Also, Tropicana Field will be fully paid off by the time the extension starts (the city and county's portion of the stadium is set to be finished in July 2016), which means we could also see the new deal be played...in a new stadium.
Richie Shaffer will be playing a lot of first base this season in the minors: Tampa Bay's top draft pick in 2012 hit .308 / .406 / .487 with four homers and 26 RBI in 33 games with short-season Hudson Valley last year. However, the 21-year-old came out of Clemson as a third baseman. If he's looking for a quick ascent to the major leagues like Longoria, someone Shaffer says he looked up to while playing in college, it won't be at the hot corner. Luckily, played over at first base in the ACC before switching sides for his final year in Death Valley.
What else does Evan Longoria's deal say to you? Email Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell him!