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Rays sign Ben Zobrist to extension

The St. Petersburg Times is reporting that the Rays and Ben Zobrist have agreed to a five-year extension that keeps him under control through 2015. The first three years of the deal are guaranteed, buying out all three years of arbitration, but options for 2014 and 2015 are for the club to decide.

In his first full season in 2009, but fourth year with the Rays, Zobrist hit .297 with 27 home runs and a .405 on-base percentage in 152 games. He is hitting .258 this season with four stolen bases.

This is a solid move for the Rays to have a set salary on another player, especially with the upcoming offseason dilemma with Carl Crawford. The Diamondbacks are probably the biggest proponent of having fix salaries for potential high-contract arbitration players (for the Dbacks - Chris Snyder, Justin Upton, Chris Young, to name a few), and the Rays are employing a similar strategy.

The Rays are currently in first place with a 12-4 record, a half game ahead of the Yankees.