The Rays have announced that they've signed shortstop Yunel Escobar to a two-year extension that guarantees him $13MM. The deal pays Escobar $5MM in 2015 and $7MM in 2016, and includes a $7MM club option with a $1MM buyout for 2017. Escobar is represented by Miami Sports Management.
Escobar will make $5MM in 2014 in the first option year of a two-year deal for 2012 and 2013 that included two options. His new contract will replace the $5MM team option for 2015 on his old one, so this new deal essentially locks the Rays in for that $5MM in 2015 while giving the Rays the rights to 2016 and potentially 2017 as well.
Escobar, 31, hit .256/.332/.366 for the Rays in 2013, but provided excellent value defensively — he posted a 10.7 UZR in 2013 and has been a consistently above-average defensive shortstop throughout his career. He typically provides little power but good on-base ability, with a .350 career on-base percentage to go with his strong defense. 2013 was Escobar's first season with the Rays, as the Blue Jays traded him to Miami in the Jose Reyes / Josh Johnson / Mark Buehrle blockbuster and the Marlins shipped him to Tampa for Derek Dietrich in December 2012.
The shortstop will enter the free agent market after his age-34 season if the Rays pick up the option. This is the second extension Tampa Bay has completed so far in 2014, having announced a six-year deal for pitcher Chris Archer this week.
Aaron Steen contributed to this post.