MLB star inks 100 million deal

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MLB star inks 100 million deal

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."

OFFSEASON

Report: Celtics hoping to sign Horford, bring him to Durant meeting

Report: Celtics hoping to sign Horford, bring him to Durant meeting

The Celtics met with Al Horford Friday and it appears they’re trying to get him to sign before their meeting on Saturday with Kevin Durant.

Multiple outlets have already suggested that theory, but Basketball Insiders’ Alex Kennedy tweeted late Friday that’s actually what the Celtics are attempting to do. It's similar to what the Suns tried last summer by signing Tyson Chandler and then bringing him to their meeting with LaMarcus Aldridge. They almost did have Aldridge signed, but he changed his mind over the 48 hours between his meeting and his decision.

Unfortunately for the Celtics, it sounds like Horford wants to take the weekend before deciding, according to The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski.

If the Celtics are able to get Horford agree to a max contract Friday, it’d likely be a huge boost to their chances of signing Durant. But they might have to wait a bit.

OFFSEASON

Celtics "emerged as a front-runner" for Al Horford

Celtics "emerged as a front-runner" for Al Horford

BOSTON – The Boston Celtics are poised to do the seemingly unthinkable: acquire an elite free agent in their prime. 

The Celtics are meeting with four-time all-star Al Horford tonight and as one league executive told CSNNE.com, Boston has emerged as a front-runner for his services after the Atlanta Hawks came to terms on a three-year, $70.5 million deal with Dwight Howard. 

And the Celtics will come armed with a four-year, $113 million max-salary offer for the 30-year-old Horford as well.   

In addition to the Celtics, Horford is also reportedly considering signing with the Houston Rockets.

Acquiring Horford would bolster the Celtics’ franchise on multiple levels. For starters, he would provide an upgrade roster-wise to a team whose progress has leveled out the last couple of seasons with first-round playoff exits.

Adding Horford greatly enhances the Celtics’ chances at making a playoff run that extends beyond just the first round. Adding Horford also provides the first real tangible sign that the days of Boston being perceived as no man’s land when it comes to free agents are in the past.

In addition, Horford’s leadership on the floor and inside the locker room can only strengthen a culture that’s deeply rooted in accountability.

But as the Celtics approach their recruitment of Horford with cautious optimism, they know all too well that they can’t afford to take anything involved in wooing him for granted.

While the Rockets may appear to be a team that Boston doesn’t have to worry too much about when it comes to Horford, there is one wild card franchise out there: Oklahoma City.

They’re the odds-on favorite to re-sign Kevin Durant, and adding a player like Horford to the roster could only strengthen their chances of keeping him long-term.

Oklahoma City has explored possible trade opportunities centered around Enes Kanter, which could go far in freeing up space to pursue Horford.

And as one of the six teams that Durant will meet with this weekend, the Celtics are well aware of the minefield that awaits them in trying to secure Horford as well as their top target, Durant.

The fact that Boston is on the short list for the top two free agents out there (Durant and Horford), speaks volumes as to how far this franchise has come from a perception standpoint in the eyes of the league’s best players.

Both Horford and Durant have talked in glowing terms about the Celtics franchise, head coach Brad Stevens and the players.

And the Celtics have made no secret about wanting both to eventually become Celtics, something that now stands as a legit possibility with Boston well in the mix for both players.

A. Sherrod Blakely can be followed on Twitter: @SherrodbCSN

Bruins make official free agent signings of Liles, Nash, Khudobin

Bruins make official free agent signings of Liles, Nash, Khudobin

The Bruins made a number of signings official on the first day of NHL free agency on Friday along with the big prize in hard-hitting, productive center David Backes.

Backup goaltender Anton Khudobin signed a two-year deal worth $1.2 million per season to return as a goaltending tandem with Tuukka Rask as they were back in a highly successful 2012-13 NHL season.

Hustling, grinding fourth line forward Riley Nash was signed to a two-year, $1.8 million contract with the Bruins as well, and had nine goals and 22 points in 64 games for the Carolina Hurricanes last season in an energy forward role. In his five-year NHL career, Nash has played in 242 games, amassing 31 goals and 50 assists for 81 points with 69 penalty minutes, including a career-high 10 goals a couple of years ago with the Hurricanes.

The 36-year-old John-Michael Liles signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Bruins after arriving from Carolina at the NHL trade deadline last spring. Liles appeared in 17 games and notched six assists along with a minus-6 rating for the Bruins in 2015-16 after being acquired for Anthony Camara, a 2016 third-round pick and a 2017 fifth-round pick on February 29, 2016. Prior to joining up with Boston, the 5-foot-10, 185-pound Liles played in all 64 games for Carolina, recording six goals and nine assists for 15 points with 16 penalty minutes.

“We went out to identify a primary target in David Backes as a center, right wing candidate. He provides depth and balance to our lineup, as did Riley Nash. And Anton Khudobin addressed an area that we seemed to have chased for a little while and possibly with Malcolm’s [Subban] injury we needed to address that for the next couple of seasons. John-Michael Liles is a player that we acquired last year that really added a lot to the mobility and the transition game and we’re excited about bringing him back,” said Bruins GM Don Sweeney. “Tim Schaller was a local boy at Providence College that we went out and identified another size, strength, left-shot, penalty kill and continued to add depth. Tyler Randell emerged last year was on our roster all year long, contributed and was a real hard-nosed player, sticks up for his teammates, was able to contribute goals, albeit not necessarily in the lineup every night, bringing balance. And Tommy Cross and the leadership qualities he brings to Providence for younger players to continue to develop.

“He found himself playing in NHL games, acquainted himself very well, just a real quality person across the board. So I think the overall philosophy of today and going into the free agent period was to address some needs and we did that. But we’ve created what I think is a real internal competition for our younger players to step up and emerge around what I think we’ve added to the core group of our players. They should be excited about this opportunity.”

Tommy Cross, Tyler Randell and Tim Schaller all signed one-year, two-way deals with the Bruins for an NHL value of $600,000, but are all expected to play the bulk of the season at the AHL level barring anything unexpected. 

Joe Haggerty can be followed on Twitter: @HacksWithHaggs