Evan Longoria would welcome contract extension with Rays

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It’s going to be tough for Rays fans to watch Carl Crawford be introduced as a member of the Red Sox in the next few minutes, so I wanted to pass along some encouraging words from Evan Longoria.

According to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times, the third baseman would welcome a contract extension that would put him in position to stay with the Rays for the rest of his career.

“Tampa Bay is the place I want to be for the rest of my career if I can,” Longoria, 25, said. “If there’s an opportunity to do something like that, I would think long and hard about it.”

Longoria signed a team-friendly six-year, $17.5 million extension with the Rays in April of 2008 and is owed $2 million in 2011, $4.5 million in 2012 and $6 million in 2013. His contract includes a $7.5 million club option for 2014 (or a $3 million buyout) and an $11.5 million club option for 2015.

While it’s great that he wants to stay in Tampa Bay for the long haul, chances are his next contract won’t be such a bargain. Longoria told Topkin that he would like a deal similar to the six-year, $119 million extension Troy Tulowitzki recently signed with the Rockies.

Royals sign Michael Saunders to a minor-league deal

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Free agent outfielder Michael Saunders has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Royals, the team announced Friday. While the move comes just two days after Saunders agreed to terms with the Pirates, he allegedly asked for his release after the club acquired outfielder Corey Dickerson in a multi-player swap with the Rays on Thursday. MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan adds that Saunders will make $1.5 million upon reaching the majors, with a potential $500,000 in bonuses.

After earning his first spot on an All-Star team in 2016, Saunders followed up a solid campaign with a career-worst performance in 2017. The 31-year-old split the season between the Phillies and Blue Jays’ camps, batting a combined .202/.256/.344 with six home runs and -0.7 fWAR in 234 plate appearances. Although he remained healthy throughout the year, with no sign of the lingering hamstring strain that has plagued him on and off since 2013, he wasn’t productive enough to merit a full-time role on either roster.

With Dickerson slated for a starting role in Pittsburgh, it was unlikely that Saunders would have commanded anything other than a backup role in 2018. Now, however, he’ll compete for playing time amid a slew of outfield options, including Alex Gordon, Cody Asche, Jorge Bonifacio, Tyler Collins and Paulo Orlando.