Kazmir agrees to extension
The Rays and ace LHP Scott Kazmir have agreed on contract extension though 2011, with a team option for 2012. The deal guarantees the lefthander $28.5-million and has a maximum value of approximately $39.5 million.
"As we continue to win games and play in October we envision Scott anchoring the staff for us,'' executive VP Andrew Friedman said. "We envision it being a series of contracts that keeps Scott in this uniform for a long time.''
Kazmir would be eligible for free agency after the 2010 season, so under this deal he gives up one year of free agency and a second if the Rays exercise their option.
Kazmir is guaranteed $6-million in 2009, $8-million in 2010 and $12-million in 2011 for what would be his first year of free agency. The Rays hold a $13.5-million option for 2012, or will pay Kazmir a $2.5-million buyout.
The Rays and Kazmir have talked on and off about a long-term deal and made progress as he rehabbed from a spring training elbow strain that sidelined him until May 4. Kazmir said the injury was not as much of a factor in him signing long-term as the moves the Rays have made to improve.
"That was huge,'' Kazmir said. "This past offseason we really addressed a lot of issues that needed to be addressed. ... We just have a great product here and I'm just happy to be a part of it.''
The announcement was made at Tropicana Field around 20 minutes before the the first-place Rays hosted the Yankees.
In his first year of arbitration eligibility, Kazmir had agreed to a one-year deal for $3.785-million. He missed the first five weeks of the season recovering from a spring training left elbow strain.
Kazmir, 24, has a 36-30 career record and 3.63 ERA in 100 major league games, and is the Rays all-time leader in wins, strikeouts, starts and innings.
The Rays have now locked up several of their core players long term, with RHP James Shields (7 years, $44 million) and 3B Evan Longoria 9 years, $44.5 million) each signing deals this year. 1B Carlos Pena is in the first year of a 3-year, $24.1 million deal.