The Rays enter the weekend needing to make decisions on exercising options for the following players:
Second baseman Ben Zobrist ($7 million option), shortstop Yunel Escobar ($5 million), outfielder David DeJesus ($6.5 million) and right-hander Juan Carlos Oviedo ($2 million).
The decisions to pick up the options for Zobrist and Escobar seem clear cut as both are earmarked to be starters on the 2014 team. Meanwhile, the DeJesus’ decision is a little murkier.
The Rays have always coveted DeJesus, and having him on their roster at the end of the 2013 did nothing to diminish that feeling. But his price tag is steep. So there’s a chance they could decline to pick up his option, pay the $1.5 million buyout, then try and sign him to a more affordable price. Obviously, the risk in such a move comes in the fact he would become a free agent after the buyout, affording other teams an opportunity to sign him.
As for Oviedo, if the Rays do not re-sign free-agent closer Fernando Rodney, there’s a chance the veteran right-hander could close for next year’s team. Oviedo, previously known as Leo Nunez when he saved 92 games for the Marlins between 2009 and 2011, signed a Minor-League deal with the Rays in 2013 and spent the entire season rehabbing from Tommy John surgery to his right elbow.