We have long championed the cause that Evan Longoria is the most valuable player in baseball. Maybe he doesn’t have the highest WAR and he is yet to win an MVP. But based on his age, talent level, position, marketability and most importantly, a reasonable contract that won’t expire until 2016, Dirtbag may be the most valuable commodity in baseball.
Joshua Fisher of The Hardball Times agrees, sorta (thanks Dustin).
Longoria’s a different animal. His agent, Paul Cohen, ought to have a very, very short client list after negotiating that disaster of a contract for Longoria. The Rays control him through 2016, when he will still cost a maximum of $14,050,000. And that’s if he makes the All-Star team and fulfills incentives related to MVP voting. Of all the people listed so far, Longoria might represent the most valuable asset
Fisher agrees that Longoria may be the most valuable player, but says he is not the most valuable asset. That honor goes to one of two people, one of whom gave Longoria that contract, Andrew Friedman (the other is Theo Epstein).
So who could possibly be more valuable going forward than a locked-up 24-year-old third baseman worth 5.3 and 7.2 wins in his first two major league seasons? Well, it might just be the guy who will pay Longoria less through 2016 than he was worth in just 2008 and 2009. That’s Andrew Friedman, executive vice president (and general manager) of the Tampa Rays. Longoria’s contract, as you know, is far from the only coup of Friedman’s career. The Rays are bursting at the seams with young, cheap talent. While it’s difficult to pin down exactly what Friedman makes for his remarkable efforts, he’s no doubt going to make less for his performance than Longoria himself. Friedman might be the most valuable asset in baseball.
It is an interesting question. If the Rays could only keep Longoria or Friedman, but not both, which would you choose? We would probably choose World B. Friedman.
As for how much Friedman makes…Based on all those polos he wears, it can’t be much.