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Rays exercise contract option on DeJesus

Team discussing multiyear deal with versatile outfielder, who could also DH

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays picked up outfielder David DeJesus' $6.5 million option Sunday.

In addition, a multiyear deal with DeJesus is believed to be in the works and could be announced later this week.

The Rays had always coveted DeJesus before finally acquiring him July 23 for a player to be named (left-hander Matthew Spann). Having him on their roster did nothing to diminish how the team felt about him. In 35 games with Tampa Bay, he hit .260 with two home runs and 11 RBIs.

Keeping DeJesus gives the Rays flexibility in several areas. Not only does he provide the team a viable outfield option on any given night, he also could work in as the left-handed component of a DH platoon. In addition, he can be plugged in for late-inning defensive purposes, pinch-running and pinch-hitting.

Team options were exercised Saturday for shortstop Yunel Escobar and second baseman Ben Zobrist, which leaves the fate of right-hander Juan Carlos Oviedo as Tampa Bay's final option decision. That decision will be made Monday.

If the Rays do not re-sign free-agent closer Fernando Rodney, there's a chance Oviedo could close for next year's team.

Oviedo, previously known as Leo Nunez when he saved 92 games for the Marlins between 2009-11, signed a Minor League deal with Tampa Bay in 2013 and spent the entire season rehabbing from Tommy John surgery to his right elbow.

The Rays hold a $2 million team option for Oviedo, or they can pay a $30,000 buyout.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for

Tampa Bay Rays, David DeJesus