Sunday, January 27, 2013
Longoria contract for Lawrie?
By Jason Catania
Evan Longoria signed a massive $100 million contract extension this winter to stay with the Tampa Bay Rays. Fellow third baseman Brett Lawrie of the Toronto Blue Jays isn't quite ready to be offered something that exorbitant, but could he land a deal similar to Longoria's first extension?
Back in April of 2008, the Rays made a very prudent decision to ink Longoria, then just a week into his big league career, to an extension that guaranteed him $17.5 million over six years. At the time, it was a risk, given that Longoria was only 22 years old and had limited experience in the majors (in fact, all of six games). In hindsight, though, it wound up being one of the most team-friendly contracts in baseball.
Lawrie is already quite a bit further into his career than Longoria was at the time of his first extension -- the 23-year-old has played in 168 games over two seasons with the Jays -- and his first full year was seen as a disappointment (.273-11-48 with a .729 OPS in 125 games), mainly because he'd started his career like gangbusters in his 2011 debut (.293-9-25 with a .953 in 43 games). Still, the upside is hard to ignore, plus Lawrie is a native of British Columbia, which can only help if one day he were to become the face of the franchise.
ESPN Insider Jim Bowden writes that it would make sense to make a pact with Lawrie now:
Jim BowdenFor Lawrie extension, reward outweighs risk
"Lawrie finished his first full season in the big leagues last year hitting .273/.324/.405 with 26 doubles and 11 homers. Those are not the type of numbers that would normally motivate a GM to give his third baseman a long-term deal. However, Lawrie is special. His high energy, passion and intensity occasionally get in the way but only because of his intense desire to win and succeed. He has the type of swing that could someday win a batting title, and his power should eventually allow him to hit 15 to 20 home runs per year. Lawrie will benefit from the additions of Jose Reyes and Melky Cabrera in a lineup that already boasts two of the league’s most productive power hitters in Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. It will be much less expensive to tie him up now rather than waiting a year or two when his production matches his potential. It's a risk for the club, but it could pay off in the same way Evan Longoria's first contract paid off for the Rays, when they gave him a six-year, $17.5 million deal (with two club options) just a few weeks into his rookie year."