Roger Mooney covers the Tampa Bay Rays for The Tampa Tribune, TBO.com and News Channel 8. He has covered the Rays since their first season in 1998, including 11 years for the Bradenton Herald. Roger has also covered Florida, South Florida and Florida State football, the Bucs and the Lightning.
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Kazmir Agrees To Extension
Posted May 14, 2008 by Marc Lancaster
Updated May 14, 2008 at 07:49 PM
The Rays and Scott Kazmir have agreed to terms on a contract extension at least through 2011, with the team holding an option for 2012. The deal, which begins next season, guarantees Kazmir at least $28.5 million and could be worth up to $39.5 million.
The contract breaks down like this:
2009 - $6 million
2010 - $8 million
2011 - $12 million
2012 option - $13.5 million (or $2.5 million buyout)
“It’s something that we’ve been working hard to do over the past couple of years and it’s something that, as we continue to win games and play in October, we envision Scott anchoring the staff for us,” said Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman.
Kazmir said after avoiding arbitration and agreeing to a one-year, $3.875-million deal for 2008 in January that he wanted to see more from the Rays before locking into a long-term deal. Between the team’s moves to lock up James Shields, Carlos Pena, Evan Longoria and Dan Wheeler and the way the team has played this season, he apparently has seen enough.
“I think for the four years that I’ve been here, we’ve seen a lot of changes,” said Kazmir, “and I think this past offseason we really addressed a lot of issues that needed to be addressed.”
The new deal, which doesn’t supercede the 2008 contract Kazmir signed in January, buys out at least one of Kazmir’s free-agent seasons, 2011. By picking up the option, the Rays would keep him off the market for at least another year.
“We envision it being a series of contracts that keeps Scott in this uniform for a long time,” said Friedman.
Asked if he thought about the amount of money he might be leaving on the table compared to what he could get on the open market as a free agent, Kazmir shrugged it off.
“I really didn’t put too much into that,” he said. “I knew from coming into spring training this year that this is the place that I wanted to be, this is the place that I wanted to play for. I wanted to win and play in October in Tampa Bay. I’m just happy that we got everything accomplished and now it’s just going out there and winning ballgames.”
“It’s not about the money,” Kazmir said. “It’s about me being comfortable and just loving to play the game. I love being here with all the teammates I have, the coaching staff, the front office – everything.”
Kazmir, acquired in midseason 2004 from the Mets, is already the Rays’ all-time leader in wins, strikeouts, starts and innings pitched.
His next scheduled start is Thursday night against the Yankees.