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Rays Officially Sign Ben Zobrist to Five-Year Extension

It's official. Although the exact yearly breakdown hasn't been released yet, the total package (including the two team options year) comes out just under $30M. Considering Tommy calculated this morning that Ben Zobrist could potentially earn $60-70M by going year-to-year, this contract is a steal. At an average of $6M a year, Zobrist only needs to accumulate ~1.5 WAR each season to make the deal worthwhile. Win!  

Notable excerpts from the press release:

"In every aspect of the game, Ben has become one of our most important players," said Rays Executive Vice President Andrew Friedman.  "As a strong defender both in the infield and outfield, his versatility is nearly unmatched, and his approach at the plate has made him one of the best switch-hitters in baseball.  He works hard, plays the game right and is exactly the kind of player and person we want as part of this organization." 

"Zobrist will donate up to $450,000 during the life of the contract to the Rays Baseball Foundation, the team's charitable foundation that supports youth and education programs in the Tampa Bay region. Zobrist joins Willy Aybar, Pat Burrell, Carl Crawford, Evan Longoria, Carlos Peña, James Shields, Kelly Shoppach and Dan Wheeler among the current Rays under multi-year contracts who provide donations to the Rays Baseball Foundation."

Friedman and Co. do it again. Did I mention I love this team?

Update from TBO_Rays: "$18 million guaranteed through 2013, club options at $7 million and $7.5 million in 2014 and 2015." That's a total of $32.5M; however, in their press release the Rays state the amount comes in just under $30M. As Trance L points out on twitter, the $18M guaranteed could include buyouts, which would push the stated total a bit higher. Also, if you adjust the deal for inflation, the true value in current dollars will be less than $32M.