With the passing of the MLB arbitration deadline on Friday, the Tampa Bay Rays reached deals with nine of their 10 arbitration-eligible players, with hurler Jake Odorizzi the lone holdout.
The team reached agreements on 2017 contracts with Alex Cobb, Brad Boxberger, Corey Dickerson, Danny Farquhar, Erasmo Ramirez, Kevin Kiermaier, Tim Beckham, and Xavier Cedeno, bringing the 2017 payroll to $55.045 Million (thus far). You can see both the projected and settled amounts below in the table.
Ever the target of trade fodder, Odorizzi was projected to earn $4.6 Million in 2017 after netting $520,700 last season. According to Roger Mooney (Tampa Bay Times), the right-hander filed at $4.1 million, and the Rays filed at $3.825 million.
Odorizzi joins an esteemed club of six others — Esteban Yan, Josh Paul, Dioner Navarro, Melvin Upton Jr, Jeff Niemann, and Drew Smyly — who couldn’t come to a mutually agreed upon number at the deadline, consequently leading to an arbitration hearing. However, only one player, Smyly, won an arbitration case against the Rays since Stuart Sternberg took over as principal owner following the 2005 season.
Chaim Bloom, Rays senior vice president of baseball operations, told the Times the ball club is happy to have come to terms with 90% of the eligible ballplayers.
This is always a grueling week with a lot of spirited back and forth, and I think when you have 10 players who are arbitration eligible, there’s always a chance you don’t come to an agreement with somebody. We’re happy to have agreements with the nine guys that we did agree with, but we understand that two sides see the world a little differently, and it’s a good thing there’s a process in place to let a third party choose.
Bloom went on, noting that though the team’s approach to the process is based on fairness, surprises may pop up from time-to-tme.
We always expect there’s going to be some differences of opinion that we’re going to have to resolve, and our approach to the process is we’re going to be fair. We’re just trying to get a fair agreement done and get this all behind us so we can focus on spring training and focus on winning some ball games.
— The Mariners reportedly agreed to terms with southpaw Drew Smyly on a $6.85 million deal, a raise from $3.75 million in 2016.
— Interestingly enough, the Rays could deal another starting pitcher. Per Mark Polishuk (MLB Trade Rumors), Rays GM Erik Neander said Tampa Bay “will continue to have an open mind” about moving another starting pitcher in an interview with Jim Bowden and Jim Duquette on MLB Network Radio.
It should be notes, rumors have swirled around Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi and Alex Cobb all offseason, so it’s not out of the question that the Rays could deal another starter if they can score a significant return. Probable no, possible yes.
— In case you couldn’t remember, just 30 days until pitchers and catcher report.