No Solution for Aging A-Rod: The Tampa Bay Rays Keep Evan Longoria Locked Up
The Tampa Bay Rays made it clear right-handed slugger Evan Longoria, 27, is the face of the franchise, giving him an extra $100 million in guaranteed cash; keeping the All-Star in Tampa—or wherever the team ends up—until 2022.
But the deal means more than just years and cash. The Rays, unlike other Florida squads, are thinking outside the box, and playing "keep away" from the other teams in the AL East.
The unexpectedness of the move has experts attempting to dissect the reasoning behind it, leaving ideas and opinions on what this means for the Rays. However, it wasn't until Charlie McCarthy's article for FOX Sports that the simple question was asked: Why add on six years and a small-islands' worth of pocket money to a guy that still has four years left on his current deal?
Well, the answer is even simpler than the question: Spending now delays any future deals...for other teams like the New York Yankees—And this is where the Rays front office gets credit for what they did with Longoria.
There shouldn’t be any surprise, at this point of the offseason, when rumors come circling about the uncertainty of Alex Rodriguez and the Yankees. There have been reports that GM Brian Cashman is not completely sold on A-Rod anchoring the "hot corner" next season, or the seasons after.
The dilemma has left the Yankees brass to play cover up, through false confidence, while desperately searching for a solution. Now, because of the Rays extending Longoria, the answer won't be coming from Tampa Bay—currently or in the future.
Tick-tock, tick-tock: A-Rod gets older and older, and the solutions dwindle; let's face it, there aren’t a whole lot of star-caliber infielders on the market.
What to do, New York...What to do?
The Yankees, as many would expect, will have their checkbook wide open as they search for infield answers to their aging problems. Will they get someone to fill the void? It's safe to say they will find a player willing to make the jump into pinstripes.
But the monetary efforts will not involve Evan Longoria, making his extension an absolute brilliant move.
Yes, he may decide to opt out at some point of his career—Tampa is far from solid—but at least now the Rays have guaranteed he won't be moving until after A-Rod is long gone.
Without question, when considering the areas of need for their rivals in the AL East, the deal makes the Rays look like genies—predicting what the future will bring.
Or in this case, won't bring: Evan Longoria in a New York Yankees’ uniform, ever.