From Comcast SportsNetST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Evan Longoria wants to be with the Tampa Bay Rays for his entire big league career.The slugging third baseman got his wish Monday when they Rays agreed to a 136.6 million, 10-year contract that adds six guaranteed seasons and 100 million."I always wanted to be kind of a benchmark player ... the guy that you could think about or associate with the organization," Longoria said. "My goal from Day One was to be the first player that played their whole career here, to be the first guy that came into the organization and went out in the organization, and played all the years in between. There's no better place for me."The agreement with the three-time All-Star incorporates the remainder of the 27-year-old's existing contract, which called for him to earn 36.6 million over the next four seasons. The new deal includes a team option for 2023 that could make the deal worth 144.6 million over 11 years."It's a very exciting day for us," Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg said. "For Evan to have the confidence in us, and I know the confidence that we have in him, to re-up so to speak for the long haul. This is just an enormous commitment for us."Longoria said a no-trade provision is not included in the deal, although after the second day of the 2018 season he would have a right to block trades as a 10-year veteran who spent his last five years with the same team.Just six games into his major league career, Longoria agreed in April 2008 to a 17.5 million, six-year contract that included club options potentially making the deal worth 44 million over nine seasons."The significance of this is not lost on anybody," Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said. "We're extending that commitment now."His new deal calls for a 5,000,180 signing bonus -- the 180 is for good luck. Of the signing bonus, 1,000,180 is new money payable Dec. 15 and the rest is pair of 2 million payments on Feb. 15 and June 14. His 2013 salary is reduced from 6 million to 2 million.Longoria's salaries remain 7.5 million for 2014, 11 million for 2015 and 12.1 million for 2016. The new deal adds salaries of 13 million for 2017, 13.5 million for 2018, 14.5 million for 2019, 15 million for 2020, 18.5 million for 2021 and 19.5 million for 2022.Tampa Bay holds a 13 million option for 2023 with a 5 million buyout, and escalators could raise the option price to 18 million.Longoria became just the seventh player with a contract guaranteed through 2020. Milwaukee outfielder Ryan Braun, Detroit first baseman Prince Fielder, Chicago Cubs outfielder Jorge Soler and Colorado shortstop Troy Tulowitzki have deals covering the next eight years, with Los Angeles Angels first baseman Albert Pujols' contract running through 2021 and Cincinnati first baseman Joey Votto's through 2023.Tampa Bay selected Longoria as the third overall pick in the 2006 amateur draft, making him the first player drafted under Sternberg and Friedman.Longoria played in just 74 games in 2012 because of a partially torn left hamstring. He underwent a minor surgical cleanup procedure on the hamstring Nov. 20 and is expected to be ready for spring training."With the time that we had now, there's no doubt that I'd be able to recover and be at 100 percent or close to it by (the start of) spring training," Longoria said.Longoria will rehab the leg during the winter and will not participate in next year's World Baseball Classic.Tampa Bay was 41-44 during Longoria's absence, and 47-27 with him in the starting lineup.The two-time AL Gold Glove winner and 2008 AL Rookie of the Year ranks second on the Rays career 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 homers and 90 RBIs during his first five seasons.Longoria will donate more than 1 million during the contract to the Rays Baseball Foundation, the team's charitable foundation.Sternberg said this deal does not rule out the possibility of signing other Tampa Bay players to mulityear contracts, such as AL Cy Young Award winner David Price. The Rays were at the bottom of the big leagues in home attendance this year."One of the challenges we'll have is figuring out how to take the next step for our organization," Sternberg said.Tampa Bay and Longoria had brief, preliminary contract talks before the season began and resumed discussions after the season ended."We kind of tried to find a middle ground to where we would able to do some things to be able to afford some players to put ourselves in a position to win every year," Longoria said. "And I told them from the beginning that I didn't want to be the one sucking up all the payroll so we can't afford anybody else."
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- This is the kind of season it has been for Clay Buchholz:
A little more than a month ago, he was merely taking up space on the Red Sox roster, having been summarily removed from the rotation after three months of poor outings.
He was in the bullpen, but the Sox were loathe to use him. Asked, memorably, why Buchholz hadn't been the choice to serve as a long reliever in a game in which the starter departed early, John Farrell candidly noted, in not so many words, that because the Sox still had a chance to win the game, Buchholz didn't make sense as an option.
But slowly, Buchholz became more effective in his new relief role. And when injuries struck the rotation, Buchholz got himself three cameo starts, during which he posted a 2.70 ERA in 16 2/3 innings, topped by Tuesday's beauty -- 6 1/3 innings, one run allowed, nine strikeouts recorded.
Just as Buchholz has straightened out, however, Red Sox starters are suddenly stacked up like jets waiting for clearance to land at Logan Airport. Steven Wright returns from a brief DL stint Friday, and Eduardo Rodriguez is not far behind.
When he pitched poorly, the Red Sox didn't have any other options.
When he pitched well, the Red Sox have plenty of other choices.
So, now what?
"As far as Clay goes,'' said John Farrell, "this will be, I'm sure, a conversation (had) within (the organization). But setting that aside, he's throwing the ball exceptionally well right now.''
But the question remains: In what capacity will he throw the ball in the near future?
There's been a suggestion to keep Buchholz in the rotation while moving Drew Pomeranz to the bullpen. That would give the Sox a dependable lefty in relief -- as opposed to, say, Fernando Abad -- while also serving the dual purpose of putting a governor on Pomeranz's climbing innings total.
Pomeranz, who has plenty of bullpen experience in the big leagues, has also thrown 140 1/3 innings this season, eclipsing his previous major league high by nearly 40.
But Pomeranz is 27, not 21. He's shown no signs of fatigue. To the contrary, he's 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA in his last four starts. The Sox shouldn't mess with his success.
Instead, Buchholz should become one of the team's high-leverage set-up weapons, available in the seventh or eighth inning.
True, Buchholz doesn't have the swing-and-miss capability you'd prefer to have in the eighth inning, where the fewer balls put in play, the better off you are. But he can get lefties and righties out, and, pitching out of the stretch full-time, he's greatly improved his command.
Buchholz would remain the best option for a spot start if one of the five Red Sox starters faltered or got hurt. But the bullpen remains the best choice for him.
Ironic, isn't it? When he pitched poorly, he remained in the rotation for several months. Now that he's pitching superbly, he can't earn a permanent spot.
It's been that kind of season.