As expected, the Tampa Bay Rays picked up the 2014 options on second baseman Ben Zobrist and shortstop Yunel Escobar today.
Zobrist will make $7 million in 2014, while Escobar will make $5 million.
Picking up the option on Escobar’s contract, which he signed in 2012 when he was with the Toronto Blue Jays, ensures that the Rays will have three-fourths of their infield return next season. First baseman James Loney is a free agent, but the Rays would like to resign him.
Sunday is the deadline for the Rays to either pick up the $6.5 million option on outfielder David DeJesus or pay DeJesus a $1.5 million buyout. The Rays would like to have DeJesus as part of the outfield in 2014 but $6.5 million is a little steep.
The deadline to pick up the $2 million option for reliever Juan Carlos Oviedo is Monday. The Rays eyed him as the replacement for closer Fernando Rodney, now a free agent, when they signed Oviedo to a minor league contract last January.
Oviedo spent the season rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. It was expected that Oviedo would pitch in September. Because that did not happen, picking up his option now comes with a risk.