The Tampa Bay Rays and infielder Logan Forsythe have agreed to a two-year contract with a one-year club option for 2018. The contract replaces his second and third years of arbitration eligibility and potentially his first season of free agency.
"Logan established himself as one of our core players with his consistent play both offensively and defensively," said Vice President of Baseball Operations Chaim Bloom. "Last season was his first opportunity to play regularly, and he emerged as a leader, a key offensive contributor and a Gold Glove caliber defender at second base."
Forsythe, who turned 29 yesterday, was chosen as the Don Zimmer Award winner as the team's most valuable player by the Tampa Bay Chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. He established career highs in nearly every offensive category, leading the team with a .281 (152-for-540) batting average, .359 on-base percentage and .444 slugging percentage. In addition, his 17 home runs, 68 RBI, 152 hits, 33 doubles, 52 extra-base hits and 153 games played all ranked second on the team behind third baseman Evan Longoria.
Among American League second basemen, Forsythe ranked second in on-base percentage, fourth in RBI and third in home runs-trailing Minnesota's Brian Dozier (28) and Seattle's Robinson Cano (21). No other second baseman in the majors could match his combination of homers and OBP. He ranked second among second basemen with 5.1 Wins Above Replacement (WAR), according to Baseball Reference, behind Detroit's Ian Kinsler (6.0). Following the season, he was named as the American League's top breakout defender at his position by Baseball Info Solutions.
In 2015, Forsythe hit .299 (50-for-167) vs. left-handed pitching, with a .373 on-base percentage and .599 slugging percentage. His 28 extra-base hits vs. lefties were one shy of Longoria's 2010 club record, and his 10 home runs vs. lefties tied for third in club history behind Carlos Peña in 2009 (12) and 2007 (11). His .599 slugging percentage ranked third in the American League, trailing Seattle's Nelson Cruz (.673) and Toronto's Josh Donaldson (.632), who won the AL Most Valuable Player award.
In addition to playing 126 games (123 starts) at second base, Forsythe spent time at first base (26 games, 15 starts), third base (nine games, four starts) and designated hitter (seven games, six starts). He is a career .252 (384-for-1,526) hitter over five major league seasons with previous experience at shortstop, left field and right field.
Forsythe was selected by the San Diego Padres in the first round (46th overall) of the 2008 June Draft. He was acquired by Tampa Bay in a seven-player trade in January 2014.