Ryan Braun’s Extension and Evan Longoria | The Process Report

Ryan Braun’s Extension and Evan Longoria

The Brewers re-signed Ryan Braun to a five-year extension worth $105 million yesterday afternoon. Whenever contract values that run nine-digits deep are present, the Rays are unlikely to be involved. Nonetheless, Braun is the second homegrown star re-signed by a small-to-medium market team who already had an extension in place—joining Troy Tulowitzki with the Rockies—and naturally there will be parallels established between those youngsters and Evan Longoria.

As I wrote on Prospectus about the Braun deal, it is insane to think the Brewers are giving a player a contract with an annual average value of $21 million considering their recent payrolls (mostly in the $80-to-90 million range). If you play around with proportions a bit, the Rays equivalent would be around $15 million—the recent high for a one-year salary appears to be Carlos Pena’s $10.25 million or so in 2010. Longoria is easily worth that, but there are at least two big factors working against any further long-term deal.

The first being risk. Longoria’s original deal held an air of uncertainty that quickly passed as he developed into one of the best players in baseball. The alternative universe where Longoria bombs like Brandon Wood—or even struggles like Alex Gordon—is terrifying, however the possibility of that reality existed. For the Rays, taking a $17.5 million risk was worth it because the threshold for breaking even is relatively low—in baseball terms. The more money involved, the higher the risk, and the higher the risk, the less likely a team like the Rays will pursue the deal.

Giving Longoria a five-year extension worth $75 million sounds good (in part because that’s below his market value), however tying up that much money into one player is something the Rays seemingly can’t afford to do. Those who read my work during the 2009 season know that I warned of a possible Carl Crawford deal because the Rays could not continue to operate with Crawford and Scott Kazmir’s deals on the books. At the time, Kazmir appeared to be an unmovable asset—at least through these non-Tony Reagins eyes. If, for whatever reason, Longoria craters. If he becomes Eric Chavez the second, then the Rays are in a messy situation.

By the time Longoria’s contract is up (after the 2016 season, should all the club options be exercised), you would hope the franchise is in better financial straits, but there isn’t a guarantee. The St. Petersburg market is uncertain and the team’s future location and stadium situation is—for a lack of a better term—uncertain. There is a lot that needs to happen, but no guarantees that it will happen.

Locking Longoria up until he is 35 or 37 sounds good, but don’t hold your breath for a massive deal like Braun’s or Tulowitzki’s.

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