Maybe I'm a skeptic (OK, I'm definitely a skeptic), but Evan Longoria's comments in this St. Petersburg Times story seem ... let's call it "conveniently timed."
"Tampa Bay is the place I want to be for the rest of my career if I can," the Rays third baseman said. "If there's an opportunity to do something like that, I would think long and hard about it."
The story came out the day the Red Sox announced their monster signing of Carl Crawford, the most iconic player in the Rays' short history. The mantle of Rays cornerstone now passes to Longoria, the 25-year-old who has been an All-Star in each of his three seasons.
Is Longoria looking at the sense of loss being felt in Rays-ville and seeing an opportunity to improve on a contract he probably regrets signing?
Just six days after making his major-league debut in 2008, Longoria signed a contract with options that allow Tampa Bay to keep him through 2016, three years past what would have been his first year of free agency. That contract is a huge bargain for the team -- the maximum they would have to pay him is $44 million, for nine years. He made just $950,000 this year and would have been a Super Two this winter, making him arbitration-eligible. He'll earn $2.5 million next season, much less than he would have earned in arbitration, and he'll be a big bargain in his other would-be arbitration-eligible years as well.
That contract cost Longoria untold millions. So does he look at the monster $119 million extension recently signed by Troy Tulowitzki (described as Longoria's friend in the Times piece) and think a "lifetime" deal looks pretty good? No doubt. And if the Rays are in the mood to placate the fan base right about now, hey, nothing wrong with floating the idea.
-- David AndriesenFor more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.