Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Ben Zobrist has little to lose in new long-term contract with Tampa Bay Rays

Everybody was smiling, as they should have been, at Friday's announcement of Ben Zobrist's long-term deal, which could keep him with the Rays through 2015 and make him close to $30 million.

For the Rays, there's cost certainty ($14.5 million to be exact) over the next three seasons, when Zobrist's salary would have been subject to the fluid arbitration process, and options to keep him through his first two years of free agency (for $7 million and $7.5 million) when they otherwise might not be able to afford him.

For Zobrist, there's life-changing financial security — nearly $18 million guaranteed, no matter where (2B? RF? 1B? LF?), how, or how much he plays — for a guy who before last season was a 27-year-old fringe major-league utility player with a .222 career average.

Whenever these types of deals are made, the talk extends beyond the rewards to the risks for both sides.

The team risks the player not producing, through effort, diminished skill or injury/illness (Rocco Baldelli's an example of the latter).

The player risks leaving money on the table if he has big years. (Evan Longoria's deal, which could run nine years/$44.5 million, is often cited, though to this point it has been to his advantage as he's making about double, $950,000, than he would as a pre-arbitration player.)

But really, what risk is there to the player? Zobrist's money should take care of his and wife Julianna's immediate family, their 1-year-old son Zion's future family and probably Zion's kids' families. (And could finance Julianna's burgeoning music career as well.)

Call it the First Fortune Philosophy. As quickly as a player's career could end, or change dramatically, given injuries (or off-field issues), the opportunity to make their first fortune — assuming the team is being fair — has to be given serious consideration. With Longoria, James Shields and now Zobrist locked up, expect the Rays to keep working on others.

Ben Zobrist has little to lose in new long-term contract with Tampa Bay Rays 04/24/10 [Last modified: Sunday, April 25, 2010 12:01am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Little separates McElwain and Muschamp eras of futility at Florida

    College

     Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain watches the second quarter of the Florida Gators game against Texas A&M, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, in Gainesville.
  2. Mikhail Sergachev scores twice as Lightning shuts out Blue Jackets (w/ video)

    Lightning Strikes

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Mikhail Sergachev said he blacked out for a few seconds after his first NHL goal Thursday night, a rocket slap shot from the point.

    Mikhail Sergachev, front, looks like he’s very in the moment with teammate Dan Girardi after scoring his first NHL goal, though he says he blacked out for a bit. He scores again in the second.
  3. Dodgers rout Cubs 11-1 to win pennant, head to World Series for first time since '88

    Ml

    CHICAGO — Enrique Hernandez put a Hollywood ending on an LA story three decades in the making.

    The Dodgers celebrate their Game 5 victory Thursday night over the Cubs at Wrigley Field, putting Los Angeles in the World Series for the first time since 1988.
  4. Joe Smith's takeaways from Thursday's Lightning-Blue Jackets game

    Lightning Strikes

    While Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov grab the headlines, don't sleep on their linemate, Vladislav Namestnikov. Namestnikov is far from a third wheel, with eight points in eight games. "He might not have the names the other two have, but he's as pivotal and vital to that line as the others," coach Jon Cooper said.

  5. Lightning journal: Derrick Brooks helps J.T. Brown make a difference

    Lightning Strikes

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Lightning wing J.T. Brown's decision to stop his anthem protest began to take shape just a few days after he raised his right fist before the Oct. 7 game against the Panthers in Sunrise.

    Tampa Bay Lightning forward J.T. Brown (23) on the ice at Lightning hockey training camp in Brandon on Monday (09/18/17).