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."
Bruce Bochy and Joe Maddon issued their lineups for today's series finale in Chicago:
1. Denard Span (L) CF
2. Joe Panik (L) 2B
3. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
6. Justin Ruggiano (R) RF
7. Mac Williamson (R) LF
8. Christian Arroyo (R) 3B
9. Jeff Samardzija (R) P (1-5, 4.57 ERA)
1. Ben Zobrist (S) 2B
2. Kyle Schwarber (L) LF
3. Kris Bryant (R) 3B
4. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
5. Ian Happ (S) CF
6. Jason Heyward (L) RF
7. Miguel Montero (L) C
8. Javier Baez (R) SS
9. Eddie Butler (R) P (1-0, 2.00 ERA)
The Raiders searched in vain for dynamic receiving production before Amari Cooper came along. Thousand-yard seasons proved elusive even in the golden age of passing stats, with a full decade’s drought after Randy Moss posted a four-digit total in 2005.
Cooper’s made that old hat.
The 2015 first-round pick has two 1,000-yard campaigns in as many seasons. Ditto for Pro Bowl honors. Those feats have become increasingly common, Cooper’s already in rarified air.
Cooper’s career is off to a solid start, but the No. 4 overall pick two years ago believes he can be much better. That especially true later in the season, where production has waned in his first two seasons.
He has nine 100-yard performances in two seasons, with just two coming after week 8. He noticeably struggled with injury at the end of 2015, but wouldn’t make excuses for a production drop last season.
Cooper wants to finish as strong as he starts, and has full confidence that will happen this season.
“Of course it’s been on my mind, but it’s a good thing to me because I feel like I can go nowhere but up,” Cooper said after Tuesday’s OTA session. “I know that I can have a lot more production than I’ve had in the past two seasons, so we’ll just see.”
Cooper has sought counsel from other NFL greats – Calvin Johnson has been in Alamenda this week, offering sage advice – and Raiders coaches have identified ways where he can be even more dynamic working with quarterback Derek Carr.
“Certainly there are things that we think we can do to help,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “Also, for him, I think he has a much greater understanding. I thought last year was a step forward. I know he wants to continue to push. It’s great when you have a young, talented player that’s really eager to be special, wants to make a mark in this league. The way he’s working at it right now is outstanding. That’s all we want of our guys.
Cooper is a versatile presence, able to do most everything well. His route running was luaded out of college, though he can be a good deep-ball receiver and can create big plays after the catch. Cooper knows his hands much be more consistent, but the Raiders want to exract more from his natural talents.
“There are a lot of different facets to him,” Del Rio said. “Where his speed is really one of his greatest strengths, obviously, his route running ability was pretty doggone polished when he got here, but even that can continue to improve and the timing with Derek. We think he’ll continue to ascend.”
That’s the goal heading into his third NFL season now armed with greater knowledge of how he’s being covered and muscle memory of what went wrong at times later in the year.
Cooper believes detail work will help him this fall and winter, and that starts in earnest during the offseason program.
“It’s easy to forget the small things like high-pointing the ball, looking the ball all the way through and not trying to run before you actually catch the ball,” Cooper said. “Overall, I’m just working hard in the offseason so that you can come back and you can be dominant.
“I want to be the best Amari Cooper that I could possibly be. I want to be better than every other year that I’ve played football, so that’s how I am looking at this year.”