The Tampa Bay Rays started off their offseason by re-signing three of the players that contributed to their playoff run this year. The Rays exercised their options for starting second baseman Ben Zobrist, as well as starting shortstop Yunel Escobar. Zobrist will be making $7.25 million and Escobar will be making $5 million for the 2013 season.
The Rays were not expected to let either of the two infielders go, as they both provided excellent defense, and were solid contributors to the stating lineup. Zobrist batted .275 with 12 home runs and 71 RBIs in 2013, while Escobar hit .256 with 9 homers and 56 RBIs. This offseason, both players have been nominated for Gold Glove Awards at their respective positions.
The Rays also re-signed veteran outfielder David DeJesus on Wednesday to a two-year, $10.5 million contract that also includes a club option for the 2016 season. DeJesus bounced around in the 2013 season, playing for the Chicago Cubs and the Washington Nationals before joining the Rays.
DeJesus is a perfect fit for Tampa Bay, as he brings a veteran presence to the team as well as the ability to play a utility role. He will most likely be used in a variety of ways that will include the outfield, designated hitter, and as a pinch-hitter or runner in the late innings.
The Rays have begun to piece together their 2014 squad, but there are still a number of questions that have to be answered before Spring Training. Tampa needs to get its team looking as promising as ever, as it has been made clear that the American League East is one of the most competitive divisions in the MLB.
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