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Top Five Contracts In Tampa Bay Rays History

Although Tampa Bay Rays is home to one of the top TV markets, the Rays have had just two players receive contracts north of $100 million.

The Tampa Bay Rays have been in existence since 1998.

Although Tampa is one of the top television markets in the country, the Rays have had two players receive contracts north of $100 million.

One reason is that the Rays owner Stuart Sternberg is one of the cheapest owners in sports. Consider the Rays payroll for the last five years.

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–2017- $69.91 million. 80 wins
–2018- $78.73 million. 90 wins
–2019- $53.3 million. 96 wins– lost in the American League Division Series
–2020- $28.7 million (COVID-shortened season). Lost in the World Series final to the Los Angeles Dodgers
–2021- $60.38 million. 100 wins–lost in the division series.

Wander Franco // 11 years // TOTAL: $182M // (2021)

The Tampa Bay Rays have been competitive despite the lack of a huge payroll.

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It was surprising then when Sternberg opened his checkbook to last year’s rookie sensation Wander Franco, signing Franco to an 11 year $182 million contract. Franco is the second $100 million dollar player in the history of the franchise.

The Rays are expecting Franco to be the face of the franchise for the foreseeable future.

This is the largest contract that the Tampa Bay Rays have ever given to a player in team history. The contract is also team friendly as the Rays will not pay Franco more than $10 million in any of the following four seasons. Franco will get $25 million in the last five years of the contract, which could be a bargain considering how MLB salaries are escalating.

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If Franco turns out to be the superstar that everyone is predicting, this contract will be a bargain for the Rays.

Evan Longoria // 6 years // TOTAL: $100M // (2012)

Longoria was the first superstar that the Rays had in their organization. In his ten years with the Rays, Longoria would win three Gold Gloves, one Silver Slugger, and was a three-time all-star. Longoria also won the American League Rookie of the Year award in 2008.

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Longoria would hit 317 home runs in his ten years with the rays, which is still the all-time franchise record.

The Tampa Bay Rays would trade Longoria to the San Francisco Giants in 2018, where he still handles the hot corner every game.

Kevin Kiermaier // 6 years // TOTAL: $53.3M // (2017)

Keirmaier is in the final year of his contract before a club option kicks in for 2023. Keirmaier has been on the trading block numerous times the last couple of seasons, but the Rays have not found anyone willing to meet their asking price.

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After Longoria, Keirmaier is the most recognized name associated with the Rays. Keirmaier has also been one of the top defensive centerfielders in baseball the last five seasons when healthy.

With the Rays having many players capable of playing centerfield, the Rays might pull the trigger on a trade once training camp begins.

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Blake Snell // 5 years // TOTAL: $50M // (2019)

Coming off a Cy Young Award in 2018 and one of the best seasons from a pitcher in Rays history, the Rays signed Snell to the largest contract given to a pitcher in Rays history.

After signing the new contract, the Rays would employ Snell for just two more seasons. Snell was traded to the San Deigo Padres in December of 2020.

Snell was one of Tampa’s top pitchers during the 2020 season and was a force during the playoffs. Many Rays fans will remember Kevin Cash taking Blake Snell out of game six of the World Series with a 1-0 lead and Snell in command of the Dodgers lineup, allowing just one hit.

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That decision would end up costing the Rays a chance at a World Series Championship.

With the trade to San Diego, the Rays paid Snell $8 million of the $50 million that was due him.

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Charlie Morton // 2 years // TOTAL: $30M (2019)

The Rays signed Morton to a two-year deal after Morton had his best season as a pro in 2018, going 15-3 with a 3.13 ERA. Morton would have another stellar season in 2019 with the Rays. He went 16-6 with a 3.05 ERA and finished third in the AL Cy Young Award voting.

After the 2021 season, the Rays declined to pick up the option on Morton’s contract for 2021. Morton signed with the Atlanta Braves for $15 million for the 2021 season.

The Rays have some great talent in the pipeline. Many will be making their first appearance in the big leagues this season or next.

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Pitcher Tyler Glasnow is in line for a new contract as he will be an unrestricted free agent in 2024. Glasnow is due to make $6 million this season and will go to arbitration to negotiate his salary for the 2023 season unless a new contract is signed.

Who do you think will be the next Rays player to get a big contract. Tyler Glasnow, Shane Baz, Shane McClanahan, or Randy Arozarena? Let us know in the comments below.

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