ST. PETERSBURG — Having made the playoffs for the first time in his 11-year career, outfielder David DeJesus liked the idea of staying with the Rays. When they offered a deal that would guarantee him $10.5 million over the next two seasons, plus a 2016 option, and keep him from the uncertainties of the free agent market, he liked it even better.
"Playing meaningful baseball was high in my priorities," DeJesus said Wednesday. "Being back with that team and getting back with those guys that I grew comfortable with, that was definitely something. And I just wanted a fair deal, and I feel we worked toward it and we got it."
DeJesus, 33, will get $4.25 million in 2014 and $5 million in 2015, plus a $250,000 signing bonus, and either a $5 million salary for 2016 or a $1 million buyout. DeJesus had a $6.5 million option for 2014, but the Rays were more interested in a multiyear deal.
Executive vice president Andrew Friedman said they had always liked DeJesus. The chance to see him up close after his Aug. 23 acquisition from Washington, particularly how he takes care of his body, made them feel good about keeping him around.
"David wanted to be here, and we wanted him to be here," Friedman said. "He does a lot of things that we value. He fit in extremely well for the time he was here."
DeJesus, who hit .260 with a .328 on-base percentage in 35 games, can play all three outfield spots and DH, and Friedman said as the team is currently constructed he would be in the lineup daily against right-handers.
Overall, Friedman said they have talked with a number of teams and free agents, but it was still early in the process.