MLB star inks 100 million deal

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MLB star inks 100 million deal

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."

Fultz a perfect fit, but do Kings have assets required to trade up?

Fultz a perfect fit, but do Kings have assets required to trade up?

It’s lonely at the top, which is where Markelle Fultz sits on almost every 2017 NBA Draft board. The Brooklyn Nets should be set for the next decade with a big time scoring point guard. Instead, it’s the Boston Celtics who have no choice but to take Fultz with the No. 1 overall selection after a savvy trade that sent veterans Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to the Nets for a stack of picks and players back in 2013.

Fultz can do it all. He’s deadly from the outside, he can take you off the bounce and he has elite passing skills to boot. In a draft packed with star potential, specifically at the point guard position, the freshman from Washington stands out well above the rest.  

It would take a major shake up at the top for Fultz not to have his name called first on draft night, but there are plenty of very talented players sitting on the board behind him. Here is a deeper look at the potential top overall selection.

The Positives:
Fultz has tremendous size, length and athleticism for an NBA point guard. He measured in at 6-foot-5, 195-pounds with a 6-foot-10 wingspan and has a frame built to take on muscle. At just 19-years-old, he is already well defined physically and has plenty of room to grow and get stronger.

A crafty, high-end scorer, Fultz changes speed and direction well and has an advanced Euro-step for a young player. He averaged 23.2 points in 35.7 minutes a night for the Huskies while shooting 47.6 percent from the field and 41.3 percent from three. He can score from all three levels, finish well above the rim and play through contact.

In his lone season in college, Fultz showed that he is not only a legitimate scoring threat, but he is a willing passer and an unselfish teammate. While Lonzo Ball is considered the true pass first point guard of the draft, Fultz had a higher assist rate (35.5 to 31.5) and lower turnover rate (13.4 to 18.2) than the star guard from UCLA.

Fultz rebounds well for his position, averaging 5.7 rebounds per game at Washington. He also has potential as a defender, posting 1.6 steals and 1.2 blocks, although he is a work in progress on that end of the floor.

Known as a high-character kid and tireless worker off the court, Fultz has the entire package. He can also play the lead or shooting guard spot, which will come in handy if the Celtics decide to pair him with All-Star Isaiah Thomas in the backcourt.

The Negatives:
9-16 is a concern. Great college players should be able to will their team to victory, even if the talent around them is suspect. Washington was certainly worse off without Fultz down the stretch, losing their last six while he sat with a knee injury.

Shot selection and sloppy ball handling was also an issue this season. In Fultz’ defense, he played with a group that lacked overall talent and those issues might eventually disappear when he’s added to a roster that made it to the Eastern Conference Finals.  

Fultz is a quality chase down defender, but he fell asleep on plenty of plays or didn’t show a consistent fight on the defensive end. Lack of focus allowed for plenty of back cuts. He also showed an inconsistent effort fighting through screens.

He’s a work in progress on the defensive end, like most young players coming into the league. Most of these issues can easily be coached out of him at the next level.

Projection:
Fultz has an advanced feel and tons of room to expand his game. On the court, he resembles another former Husky in Brandon Roy. Fultz is much further along than Roy was at the same age, but possesses both the ability to score from anywhere on the court, as well as rebound and set up his teammates.  

It’s hard to imagine the Celtics passing on Fultz with the top overall selection, but if they do, teams will scramble trying to move up to select him. He would fit perfectly in the Kings starting backcourt alongside sophomore Buddy Hield, but Sacramento lacks the assets to move from five to one, Fultz’ likely landing spot.

 

Early offense, six strong from Cueto lift Giants past Braves in finale

Early offense, six strong from Cueto lift Giants past Braves in finale

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- The blisters on Johnny Cueto's middle and index fingers that limited his effectiveness in his last few starts haven't yet completely healed.

But the two-time All-Star is learning to pitch with them.

Cueto threw six strong innings and Brandon Crawford drove in three runs as the San Francisco Giants defeated the Atlanta Braves 7-1 on Sunday.

Cueto (5-4) bounced back from his roughest stretch as a Giant. He was 0-3 with a 4.33 ERA in his previous four starts.

"They're not bothering me like they were before," Cueto said through a translator. "I'm just getting used to it but I have to continue pitching until they get better."

The Giants won their third straight home series and posted their 11th victory in 18 games overall.

Crawford's two-run single highlighted a four-run second against R.A. Dickey (3-4) that made it 6-0.

Matt Kemp had three hits for Atlanta. But the Braves couldn't get much going against Cueto, who allowed one run on six hits and a walk. Cueto struck out eight, including five in a row at one point.

"He did what he needed to do to get us out," Kemp said. "We had chances to score runs and we didn't. I think in this series we really didn't do a good score of scoring runs."

Dickey allowed a season-high seven runs (six earned) on six hits and five walks in six innings.

"This can be a challenging place to throw because of the wind because it swirls so much," Dickey said.

Eduardo Nunez and Gorkys Hernandez each had two hits for the Giants. Joe Panik tripled to start the second-inning burst.

Cueto had two productive at-bats, bunting a runner to second in the second inning and driving in a run with a sacrifice fly in the third.

"It's always nice to have a lead and I thought Johnny was the sharpest he'd been this year," Giants catcher Buster Posey said. "Hopefully it's something he can build on. The changeup was working really well and his command of the fastball was really good."

Posey was 0 for 2 with two walks. He hasn't struck out in 55 consecutive plate appearances.

FUN FACTOR:
The Giants scored the game's first run when Nunez came around from third when a knuckleball glanced off catcher Kurt Suzuki glove in the bottom of the first. The play was ruled a passed ball. Asked if he had any empathy for the plight of his counterpart, Posey said "Yes, no question. It's not fun to hit, it doesn't look fun to catch, either."

FANCY FIELDING:
Hernandez made a diving catch in the gap in left-center robbing Emilio Bonifacio of an extra-base hit with one out in the seventh inning.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Braves: 2B Brandon Phillips left in the fifth for pinch-hitter Jace Peterson. Phillips fouled a ball off his foot in his last at-bat in the third.

Giants: LHP Madison Bumgarner will start his throwing program on Friday, manager Bruce Bochy said. Bumgarner will start out playing catch and make five rehab starts. The 2014 World Series MVP suffered a separated left shoulder in a dirt biking accident. "The progress is happening," Bochy said. "I think he sees light at the end of the tunnel." ... Slumping rookie INF Christian Arroyo was out of the lineup on Sunday and his playing status appears uncertain. Arroyo, who turns 22 on Tuesday, is 0 for 19 in his last five games. "I'll talk to him, about what his situation is," Bochy said. "I'm definitely planning on giving him a couple of days" off.

UP NEXT:
Braves: RHP Julio Teheran will make his first career start against the Angels in Anaheim on Monday. He is 3-9 with a 5.63 ERA in 15 career interleague starts.

Giants: LHP Matt Moore will face the Nationals for the second time in his career. He was with Tampa Bay when he gave up two runs in five innings against Washington in 2012.