The MLB arbitration deadline came to pass at 1:00 pm Friday afternoon, and the Tampa Bay Rays came to terms with seven of their nine arbitration-eligible players: Corey Dickerson, Alex Colome, Steven Souza Jr., Brad Miller, Dan Jennings, Matt Duffy and Jesus Sucre. However, neither Jake Odorizzi (for the second consecutive winter) nor shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria came to terms with the ball club, and will take the Rays to arbitration in February.
Left-fielder/DH Corey Dickerson netted the biggest contract, agreeing to a $5.95-million deal after making $3.025-million last season. Dickerson, who has a penchant for swinging at anything remotely close to the zone, earned a starting spot for the American League in the 2017 All-Star Game, thanks to a productive first three months of the season. He, however, fell off in the second half and wasn’t able to fully contribute to the team as it attempted to make a playoff push in July and August.
Alex Colome — whose 47 saves led the the big leagues last season — earned the biggest raise, going from $547,900 to $5.3-million for 2018. The large jump all but seals the closer’s fate; he will take the mound for another team next season if the Rays can put together a trade for the right-hander.
Right-fielder Steven Souza Jr. will also see a rather large increase, from $546,700 to $3.55-million, following his breakout 2017 campaign which, as Roger Mooney (Tampa Bay Times) noted, included career highs in games (148), home runs (30), RBIs (78), hits (1,250) and runs (78).
Infielder Brad Miller will make $4.5-million after making $3.575-million in 2017. The raise flies in face of an injury stained and rather unproductive campaign.
Dickerson and Miller are controlled through 2019, while Souza is controlled through 2020.
Ground ball specialist Dan Jennings, who was acquired at the 2017 trade deadline, will make $2.375-million, up from $1.4-million.
Matt Duffy, the heir apparent to Evan Longoria at third base, agreed to a $930,000 contract — up from $545,300 despite the fact that he missed the entire season due to a heel injury which necessitated a pair of surgeries.
Finally, backup catcher Jesus Sucre will make $925,000 in 2018.
Jake Odorizzi won his arbitration case last season when he was awarded $4.1 million by an arbitrator. He became just one of two players to defeat the ball club in this forum under the current ownership.
Per Mooney, Odorizzi’s negotiations this week were interrupted when he left Career Sports Entertainment after his agent, Jason Wood, was fired and suspended by Major League Baseball after allegations he used a hidden camera to film clients taking showers at his house. Odorizzi quickly signed with Excel Sports.
It isn’t known what impact that may have had on negotiations, although what is known is that Odorizzi sought $6.3-million from the Rays who offered $6.05-million to the right-hander.
Adeiny Hechavarria was projected to earn $5-million in 2018 by MLB Trade Rumors, up from $4.75-million last season. And while he was offered $5.35-million according to Mooney, the shortstop is seeking $5.9-million.
The team is not expected to negotiate with Odorizzi or Hechavarria before their arbitration hearings in February, as the Rays do not negate with players once they fail to reach an agreement unless it is for a multi-year deal.
You can compare the player’s actual contract figures with those of MLB Trade Rumors‘ projected amounts below:
Adeiny Hechavarria — $5.0-million
Dan Jennings — $2.5-million
Corey Dickerson — $6.4-million
Brad Miller — $4.4-million
Jake Odorizzi — $6.5-million
Jesus Sucre — $1.3-million
Alex Colome — $5.5-million
Steven Souza — $3.6-million
Matt Duffy — $900-thousand