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Longoria's teammates excited for extension

ST. PETERSBURG -- Once the news of Evan Longoria's contract extension through at least 2022 broke on Monday morning, teammates and others in the organization voiced their pleasure with the deal.

Elliot Johnson and David Price expressed their thoughts via Twitter.

Johnson wrote: Congrats to @Evan3Longoria for getting a well deserved payday upgrade. All those #3 jerseys you all bought were indeed great investments.

And here's what Price had to say: Happy to see you get paid...I'm sure it feels great!!!

Later in the afternoon, the reigning Cy Young Award winner called the deal "awesome."

"He's one of the best players in baseball and I think he's the best third baseman in baseball," Price said. "I'm glad he's getting paid. It's cool for him to be able to be a Ray for his entire career. For somebody to be able to do that, it speaks a lot about that person and what they are able to do for their team and their community."

The Rays were 41-44 during Longoria's absence due to injury and 47-27 with him in the starting lineup last season. The Rays scored nearly a run more per game during his time on the active roster.

"He changes that lineup when he's in there, whether he's hitting or not," Price said. "That pitcher always knows whenever Evan's on deck, whenever he's in the hole, or whenever he's in the dugout. He's definitely a big threat and he's a great player on defense, too."

Sam Fuld called the contract well deserved.

"I think it's a great deal for both sides," Fuld said. "If he continues to play the way that he has throughout the rest of his career, you can't help but think that it's a great deal for the Rays. And for Evan, it's awesome. It sets him up for life. And I think he really values the importance of staying with the Rays and he just seems to have been a great fit since day one with them.

"For him to be able to fulfill his goal of just essentially being a Ray for life, I think it's awesome that he's going to continue to be the face of the franchise for 12 more years."

Fuld once worked at STATS, Inc., so he knows his way around baseball statistics. And his favorite statistic for quantifying a player's value to his team is "Wins Above Replacement" (WAR), a stat that basically measures how much value a player has to a team by seeing what it would be missing without that player. When asked which statistic best expressed Longoria's value, Fuld went with WAR.

"I'm a big fan of WAR, just because I feel like it's such an all-encompassing stat," Fuld said. "When it comes to WAR, [Longoria] is elite. He's one of the best. That right there is one stat that will tell you how valuable he is. You can also look at a situation like this year when we didn't have him, the disparity in our winning percentage when he was with us and he wasn't -- that's another way of looking at his value for the team."

Wade Davis called Longoria a "super player" and said the new deal was "awesome" for him.

"I think he's been hoping for something like that," Davis said. "He definitely wanted to stay with Tampa Bay. I think everybody is going to be excited for him and for me personally, I think he deserves every single bit of it."

Longtime baseball man Don Zimmer, who is a Rays senior advisor, noted that the Rays "signed a great player."

"If he stays healthy he's going to put up big numbers," said Zimmer, who spoke glowingly of how Longoria plays the game. "Who doesn't like the way he plays when he's healthy? He's all out all the time and when he's healthy he can do that. I think the Rays did a great thing by signing him as long as they did. Now all we have to do is hope he stays healthy."

Tampa Bay Rays, Wade Davis, Sam Fuld, Elliot Johnson, Evan Longoria, David Price