Saturday’s St. Pete Times had this story hidden somewhere inside the paper. I was pretty surprised that Longo’s
statements were not bigger news. At the very least, the Times could have put this story on the front of the sports page knowing that Rays fans would be suffering through Crawford’s introductory press conference in Boston (your heart was there? Really?). I mean, one of the five best players in baseball just said he wants to play for the Rays, you know, FOREVER!
I presume this story has slid under the radar because it looks like Longoria and his agent are just using the Crawford saga as leverage to modify his current contract with the Rays. Based on the story, it appears that Longoria called Marc Topkin and offered this information. We know, based on recent history, that Longoria is willing to offer unsolicited opinions to the local media in an effort to achieve a certain end. We also know that Longoria’s college roommate, Troy Tulowitzki, just got a shiny new long-term deal from the Colorado Rockies. So it only makes sense that Longoria and his agent see an opportunity to exploit the Rays’ relationship with its fanbase to exact some money from Stu Sternberg’s wallet.
Here’s the thing, even if Longo is just trying to increase his wealth, who cares? If there was ever a guy for this franchise to marry, it is Longo. And, if there was ever a guy with enough star-power to marry a small-market franchise, it’s Longo. Crawford’s career proved that he was never going to get the national recognition he deserved playing here. Longo’s short career has proved exactly the opposite. Plus, a long-term deal has both the Rays and Longo bearing some risk. The Rays take on the risk that Longo will either get injured or lose productivity (and we have seen, in the case of Pat Burrell, that the Rays cannot afford to pay an under-performing player). Longo gets guaranteed money but takes the risk that a team might offer him $140MM (which the Rays certainly won’t offer on a long-term deal) as a free agent at the end of his current contract.
That sounds fair to me so, I say why not. Someone call a priest and get these two crazy kids hitched.