The Rays have decided to exercise their $7.5 million club option on Ben Zobrist, as reported by Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. If the Rays had decided to let Zobrist walk, he would have been owed a $500K buyout.
The decision to retain Zobrist was an easy one for the Rays, who have been rumored to be considering trading him as they go through an organizational transition. Even if the Rays are ready to part ways with the veteran, picking up his option allows them to get something in return for him in a potential trade instead of letting him walk for nothing in free agency.
Zobrist, 33, hit .272/.354/.395 with ten home runs and 52 RBI in 146 games for the Rays last season. He has been known as one of the consistent and versatile players in baseball since breaking into the big leagues in 2006, posting a lifetime .264/.354/.429 line and being named to two All-Star teams while playing every position except pitcher and catcher.