PORT CHARLOTTE (WDAE) -- Tampa Bay Rays infielder Brandon Lowe had been hoping for a long time that the call would come to make the big leagues, and now that's he's here, a call to see if he would be interested in a long-term extension has sent things over the top.
"It was kind of crazy to think about," Lowe said Wednesday of his new six-year extension that will guarantee him at least $24 million. "It's something that I've dreamed of since I was five years old: to be a big-league baseball player, and all I wanted to do was play baseball. When they came up and brought up the idea [of a long-term extension], I was more than a little excited to say the least."
For the Rays, Lowe's demonstration of his growth as a player through the minor-league system since being selected in the third round out of the University of Maryland in 2015 gave the front office the confidence in offering him this deal.
"He's someone -- and last year really highlighted it -- that has continued to develop as a player and has seemingly improved each step of the ladder," senior vice president of baseball operations and general manager Erik Neander said. "As a player, you're talking about someone that has demonstrated very good power, very good offensive production, and we believe still has some room for further growth."
But now that he doesn't have to worry about haggling with the team through the arbitration process on what his salary should be every year, the 24-year-old now has a new goal in mind.
"As much of a security blanket as it is and can be, it's also something as a goal is to outperform it," Lowe said. "Now I want to do better than this contract. I want to perform better so maybe they realize that they got something good from it as well."
As for a big splurge, Lowe hasn't made a decision, though Neander had a good one in mind.
"How about a place in St. Pete?" the Rays GM queried.
It's another good idea.