It is difficult to imagine that news of Evan Longoria's contract extension with Tampa Bay created any angst inside the Citi Field offices Monday. In fact, that deal appeared to solidify a market value for elite third baseman that kept David Wright's price reasonable.

To be clear: There are many differences between Wright, who turns 30 next month, and Longoria, 27. Wright, set to make $16 million in 2013, is just one year from free agency, needing a contract that will take effect long before Longoria's, which does not kick in until 2017. That alone is a significant divergence of circumstances.

But take Longoria's six-year, $100 million deal, and recall the nearly identical contract awarded by the Washington Nationals to Ryan Zimmerman this spring. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that an average annual value has been established for the elite of the position.

Miguel Cabrera makes slightly more than $19 million per year, but he signed that contract as a first baseman, and he won the American League Triple Crown this year. He is operating on a higher level than Wright, Zimmerman and Longoria.

Cast aside that and Alex Rodriguez's absurd contract, and behold the richest average annual values among third baseman: Longoria, after his current deal expires, will make $16.6 million per year, Zimmerman $16.7 million. Texas' Adrian Beltre will make $16 million in 2013 and $17 million in 2014.

Wright will find it difficult to justify seeking much more — either in negotiations with the Mets, or any other team in free agency, 12 months from now.

Another question with Wright — who continues to negotiate with the Mets as next week's winter meetings loom, and the trade rumors become inevitable if a deal is not completed — will be the length of his contract.

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