The Rays and shortstop Yunel Escobar have agreed to a two-year contract extension worth a guaranteed $13 million, covering 2015 and 2016 with a one-year club option for 2017.
Escobar, a Gold Glove finalist last season, already had a club option for 2015 worth $5 million. This deal covers that option, so Escobar will make $5 million next season, $7 million in 2016, and $7 million in 2017, or a $1 million club option.
Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman said keeping their infield together was a driving force this offseason, leading them to sign 1B James Loney to a three-year $21 million deal. But Friedman said Escobar approached the Rays about an extension. Friedman said Escobar "commandeered" him in the clubhouse during spring training, saying how much he liked it in Tampa Bay and wanted to stay longer, a rare move by a veteran player with a year remaining on his deal. But Friedman was excited to keep Escobar in the fold, saying he's a "really, really good player at "an extremely scarce" position.
Escobar, acquired from the Marlins for INF Derek Dietrich in December 2012, said the Rays have treated him better than any other team, and is excited he's going to be here for a few more years.
"I think it's the best thing to ever happen to my career," Escobar through an interpreter of playing for the Rays. "Obviously I'm really happy."