Evan Longoria may be the most valuable player in baseball. A lot of that has to do with the contract he signed two weeks into his big league career. A contract that will pay him less in the next six years (~$28 million) than Alex Rodriguez will make in 2010 ($32 million).
But that contract is so good for the Rays, that it could lead to a scenario in which the Rays are forced to trade Longoria before the contract expires.
The flip side to the contract being valuable to the team, is that it is not valuable at all to the player. The Hardball Times calls Dirtbag’s contract “the worst contract in baseball.”
So the question bothering me is this: What in the world was Longoria thinking? From what point of view was getting just $17.5 million for his entire time under club control an acceptable decision? And what possessed him to give the Rays those options? Looking back, his deal just puzzles me. The easy answer, of course, is risk management. Lock in that one big payday so that, even in the event of a career-ending injury, you’re good to go. I get it. But isn’t that what Lloyd’s of London is for?
Of course, a injury could still happen, but in reality, how often do position players experience injuries that threaten their career or earning potential? For hitters, it is usually a matter of talent, and Longo has oodles of it.
What Longoria was thinking is no longer relevant. The important question now is: Will Longoria’s contract live to see the last 2-3 years? Might Longoria at some point sign with a real agent and demand to renegotiate his contract? It is rare in baseball, but that is because most baseball players are overpaid towards the end of their respective deals.
If Longoria demands to renegotiate, the Rays may be forced to trade him to a team that is willing to give him more money. So while we all assume that the Rays are set at the hot corner for the next seven years, that might not necessarily be true.