Zorilla Gonna Be Around For Awhile

As if this season could not get any better…

The Rays announced the signing of uber-utilty player Ben Zobrist to a long-term deal. 

Of course, this is one of those moves that is quite typical of the Rays and has led to the success they have enjoyed the last 3 seasons.  They identify key players to the team’s success in the future.  They ensure that these players are for real.  They swoop in and sign the players to a long-term deal that could be seen in some circles as a bargain.

Zobrist receives what amounts to a 5 year deal worth $30 million.  The final two years of the deal are club options, which gives the Rays complete control over the 1B/2B/SS/3B/RF/CF/LF for the foreseeable future.

This the type of deal that has kept Carl Crawford in town, gave Rocco Baldelli security, and secured Evan Longoria at the hot corner for many more years.  In each instance, the deals were for manageable money–manageable for a team of the Rays’ size and location, that is.

GM Andrew Friedman said at the press conference that giving Zobrist a deal such as this is something the Rays are happy to do with any player who displays “ability, work ethic, and character” (raysbaseball.com). 

With the threat of losing Crawford at the end of this season (or sooner), the Rays HAD to make a move such as this to keep one of their key pieces in the lineup for years to come.

Congrats to Ben on getting just what a good guy should get: appreciation.

And let’s hope that the Rays can get something done with Crawford so they can keep this nucleus intact for the future…

 

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16 comments

  1. bklyntrolleyblogger

    I think Sternberg, Friedman and Maddon are doing a tremendous job. I love that no matter what expoilts you hear coming out of the Bronx and about the River Ave Bar and Grill Softball Team, every morning the paper reminds them the Rays haven’t gone away. Priceless. Sorry about the Cubs bashing…it’s an old N.L. East habit from back in the day.
    ; )
    mike

  2. raysfanboy

    NO problem with the Cub bashing. They are earning it. They need to get their butts in gear.

    Since Sternberg bought the team, the Rays have done things the right way. We were all hoping that when Naimoli stepped aside things would improve and boy oh boy have they!

  3. angelsgirl012

    Zorilla is crazy! Not to mention his wife (like 99.99999% of baseball wives) is very pretty! (She can also sing very well! What a lovely voice). I’m glad you guys have him for awhile. He’s a great player indeed

    http://mimi.mlblogs.com

  4. welikeroywelikeroy

    I didn’t think much of Zorilla when he got to the majors, but I’ve seen him progress into one of the games elite 5-tool players. Garza had a bad first inning last night. The Jays knew that was the time to pounce on him. Garza is a pitcher that needs to get into a grove.

    http://homerfoodandhistory.mlblogs.com

  5. devilabrit

    I think it’s great the way the Rays get guys for a real price… it just goes to show that you can’t rate a players greatness by his paycheck…. another great deal by the Rays….

    -peter
    Phillies Outside

  6. azinneck

    I’m hoping the Reds start taking this page from the Rays’ book and sign some of their young guys to contract extensions. Retaining Zobrist is a good move for the Rays — keeping that core of guys together to hopefully keep making some noise in the division!
    ~AZ
    http://azinneck.mlblogs.com

  7. lilmatt

    Great move for your team. The Rays are being run very well. Respect to your GM. He knows what he is doing. And to be competitive with the Red Sox and Yankees who can spend more money than anyone is not easy.
    –Matt
    “The South Side Story”
    http://giftofgod80.mlblogs.com/

  8. crzblue2

    The Rays get me respect year after year. They are able to keep up with the Yankees and Red Sox on a much lower payroll. But still I hope that we could have more parity in Baseball.
    Congrats on retaining Zobrist! Love that picture!
    -Emma

    Crzblue’s Dodger Blue World

  9. jyaltma

    Hey man, sorry it took me so long to get back to you. I like your feedback – keep it coming! Good to know there are smart baseball fans out there… I like your stuff here! Signing Zobrist is huge for both the team and Zobrist, especially when you think about how much he’s proved about his capabilities and potential once he started trying to hit for power. The Rays really got a bargain last year, and even with this extension, they’re still getting a bargain when you consider all Zobrist can do. The Rays have definitely been my favorite AL Team ever since they went on that huge winning streak way back in the Piniella era, and it’s great to see them doing well! Beat those Yanks!

    http://dailyjakjob.mlblogs.com

  10. SLY

    – I forgot to mention Fred Lewis…errrrrr… F.Loser. Watch him play for a couple weeks and you will agree with the name my friends and I have bestowed upon him. He swings through far too many fastballs. Coming into tonights game he has 9 Ks in 24 at bats for the Blue Birds. He will not be missed.

    Shaun

    PS- Nobody believes his UZR rating (except for maybe Fred himself). His D is horrendous. Trust me.

  11. Jonestein

    I was just over at Rays Renegade’s blog telling him what I’m about to tell you: Your boys look freaking awesome this year and it’s lookin’ like I was high and outside with my Rays-in-third-place prediction this year. Wow.

    Awesome that you guys locked in Zobrist…I’m wishing like hell I’d taken him in my fantasy draft.
    :^)
    –Jonestein
    http://jonestein.mlblogs.com

  12. santosis

    The real key to the Zobrist signing is the two option years–essentially the Rays gave him a modest raise over his arbitration-likely numbers to steal away his first two-years of free agency risk free. It took Zobrist quite awhile to make it to the big leagues (but he is a career .318 minor league guy, so there’s really no fear of regression). This extension means he’ll never really be able to go after a top money contract–so there’s a good chance that he could be a Ray for life.

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