Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Rays: Exercise Two, Await Two Others

Team’s decision on DeJesus to be made tomorrow.

A tweet for Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times states the Tampa Bay Rays have elected to exercise the options on Ben Zobrist and Yunel Escobar. Most view these transaction as no-brainers.

In regards to Zobrist, he has blossomed into one of baseball’s most valuable contributors. While not having any one set defensive position, Zobrist has played above his value in every season since 2009. Over that period, he has amassed a bWAR of 32.9 and fWAR of 29.7. During that same time, Zobrist has posted a triple slash of .269/.366/.466 including .275/.354/.402 this past season.

Add the durability factor. Since ‘9, the least number of games in which Zobrist has played in any single year is 151 (2010).

If you go to Zobrist’s page on Fangraphs, his 2013 fWAR of 5.4 would equate to a value of $27.1MM. The $7MM the Rays will pay him for 2014 seems like a bargain beyond belief.

In the case of Escobar, seems like the maturity issues he previously displayed have vanished. Not that the Rays haven’t had to deal with those issues in the past. And we know it’s more about his defense. Escobar was one of the three finalists for the AL Gold Glove at short, won by Baltimore’s J.J. Hardy.

His offense was passable as he posted an OPS+ of 97, and his wRC+ was at the average 100. Escobar will make $5MM for 2014.

The Rays still have a tough decision in David DeJesus. DeJesus stands to make $6.5MM should his option be picked up by the club. Keeping DeJesus would potentially give the Rays a starting outfield of DeJesus, Desmond Jennings and Wil Myers.

The other decision may be a little easier to make. Juan Carlos Oviedo, or some may remember him more as Leo Nunez, is due $2MM should the Rays elect to exercise the option. Oviedo did not throw a pitch for the Rays this past season. He underwent Tommy John in September 2012.

Tags: Tampa Bay Rays

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