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.

Yoenis Cespedes blames a lack of golf for his early season slump

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Back during the 2015 playoffs the sorts of New York media types who love to find reasons to criticize players for petty reasons decided to criticize Yoenis Cespedes for playing golf the day of a playoff game. The Mets won the series with the Cubs during which the controversy, such as it was, occurred and it was soon dropped.

It was picked back up again in 2016 when Cespedes, while on the disabled list with a strained quad, was seen playing golf. Despite the fact that everyone involved said that golf did not contribute to his injury and that golf would have no impact on his injured quad, it was deemed “a bad look” by a columnist looking to get some mileage out of bashing Cespedes for having a hobby that probably half of all ballplayers share. They did it when he showed off his fancy cars too, by the way, even though just about every ballplayer has a fancy car or three. When you’re a superstar in New York — especially when you’re one with whom the media is not particularly close for various reasons — you’re going to catch hell for seemingly nothing.

Now there’s a new twist to the Cespedes golf saga. Yoenis himself says that his poor start — he’s hitting .195/.258/.354 and leads the league in strikeouts — is due to . . . not enough golf! From the New York Times:

He gave a possible reason for the poor start this weekend: not playing enough golf, a hobby beloved by many baseball players. And, yes, he is serious.

“In previous seasons, one of the things I did when I wasn’t going well was to play golf,” he said after a game on Friday in which he struck out four times but still drove in the go-ahead run in the 12th inning. “This year, I’m not playing golf.”

The story says Cespedes quit golf last summer because he worried that it was contributing to hamstring problems. He’s thinking about going back to it soon, as he thinks it’ll help his swing. Given that he’ll catch hell either way, he may as well do what he wants.