Kazmir agrees to three-year, $28.5M extension with Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Tampa Bay left-hander Scott Kazmir agreed Wednesday to a $28.5 million, three-year extension through 2011, a deal with a club option that could raise the contract's value to $39.5 million over four seasons.

The 2007 AL strikeout champion is 36-30 with a 3.63 ERA in 100 major league appearances, including 99 starts. He began this season on the 15-day disabled list after straining his left elbow, but returned to the rotation on May 4 and is 1-1 with a 2.70 ERA in two starts.

"It's something we've been working hard to do over the past two years," Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman said. "As we continue to win games and play in October, we envision Scott anchoring the staff for us."

The 24-year-old, 13-9 with a 3.48 ERA last season, was an All-Star in 2006. He is Tampa Bay's career leader in wins, strikeouts, starts and innings pitched.

Kazmir is earning $3,785,000 this season, and would have been eligible for free agency after the 2010 season.

"I knew coming into spring training that this is the place I wanted to play," he said, adding that he never gave a lot of thought to the possibility that he could command an even bigger contract as a free agent. "I wanted to win and play in October in Tampa Bay."

He gets $6 million in 2009, $8 million in 2010 and $12 million in 2011. Tampa Bay's 2012 option is for $13.5 million with a $2.5 million buyout.

Kazmir gets the use of a luxury suite for five home games each year, and he would receive $800,000 the first time he's traded.

He will contribute $75,000 annually to the Rays Baseball Foundation in 2009 and 2010, $100,000 in 2011 and, if the option is exercised, an additional $100,000 in 2012.

Kazmir is the second young Rays starting pitcher to get a lucrative new deal this year.

Right-hander James Shields agreed to an $11.25 million, four-year contract in January. His deal includes three team options that could make it worth about $38 million over seven years, and performance bonuses could boost the value to approximately $44 million.