Rays exercise 2015 option for Zobrist
The Tampa Bay Rays have exercised their 2015 club option for infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist.
The 2015 season will be Zobrist's 10th in a Rays uniform, the first player in club history to reach that mark. The 33-year-old is the franchise career leader in doubles (229) and walks (542) and ranks second to Carl Crawford in games played (1,064), hits (1,016), runs scored (565) and triples (32).
"Ben has been integral to the success that the Rays have enjoyed throughout his career here," said Rays Vice President of Baseball Operations Chaim Bloom. "His skill and versatility on the field, combined with his character and selflessness, make him the ultimate team player. We are excited to continue forward with him."
In 2014, Zobrist was selected by the Tampa Bay Chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America as the Don Zimmer Most Valuable Player, awarded to the Rays top contributor on the field. In 146 games, he batted .272 (155-for-570) with 10 home runs, 52 RBI, 34 doubles, 10 stolen bases, 83 runs, 75 walks and a .354 on-base percentage. It was his sixth straight season of double-digit homers and steals, joining Hanley Ramirez (nine) and Andrew McCutchen (six) as the only players with current streaks that long. Over the past six seasons (2009-14), Zobrist ranks fifth in the majors with 504 walks and leads the majors with 483 unintentional walks. He also leads all switch-hitters with 211 doubles during that span.
Known for his ability to excel at multiple defensive positions, Zobrist is the first major league player since records are available (1914) to play in 200 career games at second base, shortstop and right field. He owns a career .997 fielding percentage. in the outfield, best of any active player with at least 400 games. In 2014, he started at five different positions: second base (74 games), shortstop (23), left field (17), right field (16) and center field (seven).
A two-time American League All-Star (2009, 2013), Zobrist will travel to Japan this month along with teammates Evan Longoria and Jeff Beliveau and other major leaguers to take part in a five-game All-Star Series against Japan's national team.
He will earn $7.5 million in the final year of the contract, which was completed in April 2010.