This past year was the first under baseball’s new collective bargaining agreement, which, among many other things, dramatically restricts teams’ abilities to spend on the amateur side. That has had a number of effects, including a shifting of dollars to the big league side, and a rush to extend young franchise players (because they’re now harder to get by simply “buying” them). We saw it with a number of pitchers this past year, most notably Matt Cain and Cole Hamels, each of whom signed healthy extensions just before reaching free agency. You also had Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Andrew McCutchen, and others.

But the extension story may only be beginning.

Today, the Tampa Bay Rays announced that they’ve extended start third baseman Evan Longoria … through 2022. The 27-year-old third baseman was already under contract through 2016, on the one of the most team-friendly deals in baseball history. Now he’ll get an additional $100 million from 2017 through 2022, and the Rays will get a 2023 option, too (when he’s 38). It’s a team-friendly deal by most standards, but you’ve got to consider: that additional $100 million doesn’t kick in for another four years (during which he was already under cheap control) – a lot can happen in those four years. The deal is being heralded as a great one for the Rays, but I’m not so sure it isn’t just as risky on their side as it is on Longoria’s.

The deal is obviously a huge bet on (1) Longoria’s longevity and productivity well into his 30s, (2) the Rays’ long-term viability with a public face like Longoria, and (3) the escalating salaries of baseball’s top players.

It’s also a bet, as the outset referenced, that these kinds of players are going to be harder to get and secure long-term. It remains a story to watch and consider as we talk about which free agents the Cubs should try and sign, and for how long.

  • Spoda17

    I like this trend. Hopefully it will create more Ryan Sandberg, Cal Ripkin and Chipper Jones type of players that actually play their entire career with one club. I really miss that aspect of baseball. I was crushed (and of course a lot younger) when Mark Grace left the Cubs (just as an example).

    It’s difficult to really become a fan of your “favorite” player when that player plays four years with your club, gets great, and then go to another team…

    • Brett

      I’m a sucker for the player movement. I like guys moving around …

      • Sircub

        It does make your job more interesting when they do…

        • Brett

          That’s definitely true.

      • hansman1982

        eh, I’m nostagilc in that I like it when superstars stick with the team that drafted them for their whole career. I was hoping Pujols would stick in St Louis (and not just because that contract would have crippled them).

        Then again that nostalgia is coming from an era where players had no choice who they played for.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Then again that nostalgia is coming from an era where players had no choice who they played for.

          And that’s the key thing to remember. To put it into perspective, it’s like being nostalgic for the times when women stayed at home: the fact that so many of them did not want to do so is omitted. Ditto that for ballplayers: we tend to forget about all of the spring training hold outs and bitter fights over year-to-year contracts. (Koufax and Drysdale almost left the Dodgers for television one year! I think that they were going to play detectives or something crazy.)

      • Spoda17

        I’m okay with movement, just would be nice for the “super-stars” to stay with their original team…

    • Jeremy

      I agree, I think it’s better for baseball if you have homegrown established stars staying with their teams. It’s nice to see though like Brett said I do love player movement.

    • Mike

      I like when players (ok, some players) actually stick with the same team, or their original team, for more than just a few years as well. That being said, and if my memory serves me well, the Cubs didn’t offer Mark Grace a contract before he went to the Diamondbacks. I was always a Grace fan, and I was happy to see him win a World Series ring in his first year with the Diamondbacks. I thought it was poetic justice that Grace won right away after the Cubs turned their backs on him. Grace always played with heart, and was a very unselfish player. If the Cubs were wise back then, they should have held on to him.

  • ETS

    Any No Trade Rights?

    • Brett

      Doubt it, though once he hits 10 years of service time, he’ll have 10/5 rights for the remainder of the deal.

      • ETS

        So I don’t really think this means superstars stay with their same team, just that teams see value in rolling the dice and locking up their salaries early (hoping they don’t get injured). There’s no guarantees as to who pays that salary.

        My opinion (not that anyone cares lulz) is still new CBA = bad.

  • kranzman54

    How is that extension tem friendly? 6-yrs 100 Million seems team friendly for todays Longoria but this contract won’t even start until he turns 32. A lot can happen in 4 years.

    • Brett

      That’s exactly what I’m saying.

  • Pat

    Not a fan of extending players with more than two years of team control left. The risk/reward just isn’t there.

    • CubFan Paul

      The risk/reward just isn’t there

      $100M spent now versus $200M later. Hmmm…

      • Pat

        It’s only two hundred million later if. 1) he stays healthy for the next four years. 2) he consistently improves over the next four years to justify 32 million per year. 3) he is still capable of playing a premium position in four years.

        However if he has a career ending issue like Albert Belle or Bo Jackson did, you’re not only out the hundred million, but the remainder of the current deal as well

        • rhino70

          If the Rays are a smart organization, and I believe that they are, they will insure that contract against career ending injury. If something terrible happens to Longoria, the insurance company is on the hook for the contract, not the Rays.

          • Pat

            Usually, they have to insure against a specific injury. It’s possible that they may get something against any career ending medical condition, but then you better add at least twenty million to the cost of the contract. Additionally no one will insure against decreased performance or nagging injuries.

    • cjdubbya

      Not to pick a fight, but you weren’t a fan of extending Castro?

      • Pat

        I was not. Although I do think it was a relatively good deal, I would have preferred they wait a year or two even knowing that it could cost more then.

  • bbmoney

    I’m probably crazy but I think I’d rather have Longo on a 4 year $36M deal (which they already had) than a 10 year $136m deal.

    I mean don’t get me wrong. Longoria is great. If he was a FA right now, he’d get a lot (and I mean a lot) more than 136M in fewer than 10 years. So overall still a good deal for the Rays. I’m just surprised.

    • Brett

      You’re not crazy. Definitely a debatable issue.

    • Jeremy

      With his injury history, it’s defiantly debateable.

  • BluBlud

    I perfer when a player sticks with the team that drafts him also. I’m a huge Longoria fan, and would have loved to see him in a Cubs uniform, but I’m glad he wants to be with the Rays for the rest of his career. Hopefully we see this trend with Castro, maybe Shark and Baez.

    Hell, maybe we just go ahead and offer baez a 10 year deal right now. J/k

  • Marcel91

    Caught me by surprise. But heck why not. With high reward comes potential risk. I wouldn’t have tacked on 6 extra years though. maybe 4 so you can let him loose at 36 or sign him again to a short-term deal more indicative to his value at age 36.

  • hansman1982

    Am I the only one who does not like SBNation’s new formatting?

    • EdgewoodDirk

      No, sir, you are not. I miss the old format.

    • WGNstatic

      Can’t stand it.

      I am happy to say that my browser auto-fill for “ble…” takes me here not to some other Cubs blog.

    • terencemann

      I like the formatting for articles and it looks amazing on mobile phones but I hate it for fanposts.

  • MightyBear

    I like when players don’t move. I like that Ernie, Billy, Ronnie, Fergie and Ryno played all or most of their careers with the Cubs.

    That would be good for baseball. It seems free agency makes it all about the money.

    • Stevie B

      MightyBear, I agree with you. Riddle me this…who is the face of the Cubs now? Castro, Rizzo??

      I don’t like a new face at every position every 3-4 years.

      • Shortcircuit

        That one is easy. It’s Theo Epstein.

  • DocPeterWimsey

    That would be good for baseball. It seems free agency makes it all about the money.

    I would phrase it that free agency makes it more obvious that it is all about the money, and that the old system masked the fact that it is all about the money. Moreover, players always wanted to move to winning teams: it was just difficult for them to do so as they had so little input on where they could go.

  • MikeCubs

    How does insurance work for baseball contracts? For example, I know that NBA teams insure most of their contracts for players without significant injury history. The real risk for a team to sign a player to a long term deal in the NBA then is the hard salary cap.

    Since there is no hard capy in baseball, the risk on the team’s end would be minimal if in fact they can insure the 10 year extension. In other words, the only amount of real $ at risk for the team would be the insurance premium $.

  • MikeCubs

    …And the extra $ penalty for going over the soft cap

    • Brett

      You just hit it there. Which may or may not matter for the Rays, presuming their spending always stays under the luxury tax cap.

      But injury insurance is rife with outs and limited coverage bits – nagging injuries, for example, that allow him to keep playing (but underperforming), would almost certainly not be covered.

      And then there’s just the flat out risk that he stops performing at an elite level as he ages. There’s plenty of monetary risk here.

  • Clark Addison

    SB Nation’s new formatting is homogenized and cluttered, just like MLB. You can’t tell the Cubs site from the Dodgers or the Cardinals.

    • aCubsFan

      Well it is called Branding 101. It’s making sure all the sections and pages look a like with the information in the same place. No different than ESPN, Yahoo Sports, Foxsports, Comcast SportsNet, Suntimes, New York Daily News, NHL, NBA or any other franchise type website.

  • GDB

    Would be interesting to see how many players have had a start to their career as good as Longoria but have then abruptly fallen out of the game before their mid-30s. I’m guessing that would be a pretty small number of players so the risk shouldn’t be that big.

    To get a feel for a fair market comparison – would you sign David Wright to this extension starting next year?

    I would.

  • Lou

    Giants appear to have non-tendered Brian Wilson. Do we just sign him for the beard?