Bartlett, Rays agree on 1-year contract

Updated: January 20, 2009, 2:36 PM ET
Associated Press

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Shortstop Jason Bartlett and the Tampa Bay Rays agreed Tuesday on a one-year contract worth $1,981,250, avoiding arbitration.

Bartlett, part of the November 2007 trade that also brought right-hander Matt Garza to the AL champions in exchange for Delmon Young, made $412,500 while helping solidify the Rays' defense last season.

Manager Joe Maddon often referred to the 29-year-old as Tampa Bay's most valuable player during the team's run to the World Series. The Rays were 78-47 when he was in the lineup, compared to 7-9 when he was on the disabled list and 19-18 when he did not start.

Bartlett batted a team-leading .286 with one homer, 37 RBIs and 20 stolen bases. He hit an AL-best .379 against left-handed pitching.

His deal left third baseman Willy Aybar and catcher Dioner Navarro as the last Rays in arbitration.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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